Gender, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation

Gender, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation

CRS Law Enforcement

In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act expanded CRS’s mandate to include working with communities to prevent and respond to alleged hate crimes based on actual or perceived gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Below are some examples of how CRS supports these communities:

  • Bringing together community leaders, law enforcement professionals, local and state officials, and civil rights organizations after hate crimes are committed on the basis of actual or perceived gender, gender identity, and/or or sexual orientation to discuss community tension and best practices on how to prevent and respond to future incidents
  • Facilitating programs in schools, universities, and other educational institutions to prevent and respond to incidents of bullying committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students, increase understanding of these individuals, and discuss the effects of bullying and bias-based incidents
  • Strengthening police and community partnerships through training programs for law enforcement agencies that include information about and best practices for successfully interacting with the transgender community

Below are some recent examples of CRS's work assisting communities experiencing tension and conflict based on actual or perceived gender, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation. Additional case summaries may be found within CRS’s Annual Reports, located on the CRS Resource Center webpage.

Case Highlights

Providing facilitated dialogue and consultation services to the community and law enforcement in Memphis, Tennessee

In March 2017, the Memphis Police Department (MPD) requested facilitated dialogue and consultation services from CRS following reports that community groups planned to stage protests amid racial tensions in the community and nationally.

The protestors sought to bring public attention to social injustices in the community, and the possibility of a larger protest was anticipated. In 2016, Memphis experienced a massive protest that resulted in the shutdown of the Hernando de Soto Bridge on Interstate 40. With tensions high in the region, MPD Police Director Michael Rallings requested CRS’s assistance in ensuring that the MPD had a productive dialogue with the community.

CRS provided technical assistance to the MPD as it prepared to host a public forum to address policing concerns expressed by African American community members. The event was designed to give the community an opportunity to provide input on solutions and strategies when interacting with police officers.

The forum took place in July 2017 and approximately 120 community members attended. CRS facilitated a dialogue between the community and the forum panelists, which included members of the MPD, state government, faith-based groups, civil rights organizations, and community youth.

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