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LGBT-Inclusive End Racial Profiling Act Introduced

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April 22, 2015
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Hayley Gorenberg

Today, the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) was reintroduced by Congressmembers Ben Cardin and John Conyers with key, new language expanding the ban on racial profiling to include profiling based on gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

An important priority for Lambda Legal, our policing and criminal justice work includes working against discriminatory policing of all of our communities by passing a comprehensive and enforceable ban on police profiling. Racial profiling robs people of their humanity and instills fear and distrust among members of vulnerable communities.

Read the letter to Senator Cardin and Representative Conyers we signed with many other civil rights organizations.

As we recently showed the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing , Lambda Legal’s survey of thousands of LGBT people and people living with HIV, “Protected and Served,” yielded  many accounts of how law enforcement agents target LGBT people for discrimination, harassment, and even sexual assault: “25 percent of respondents with any recent police contact reported at least one type of misconduct or harassment, such as being accused of an offense they did not commit, verbal assault, being arrested for an offense they did not commit, sexual harassment, physical assault, or sexual assault.”  The intersections of race and LGBT identity compounded the impact.

From Stonewall to stop-and-frisk, LGBTQ people - and particularly LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ youth, and transgender and gender-nonconforming people - have long been targets of profiling and other forms of discriminatory policing. The consequences have ranged from deportation to death , arrest to assault , homophobic harassment to humiliation. 

Every person, regardless of race, religion, HIV status, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety, including fear of police profiling and discriminatory policing practices. Profiling – whether it’s based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity – has no place in our society.

It is therefore important that both ERPA’s profiling ban and the enforcement mechanisms it creates address the multiple ways that people of color experience racial profiling, including profiling targeting gender, gender identity and sexual orientation.

An inclusive ERPA, embracing intersectional identities, will benefit all members of communities of color who experience discriminatory policing based on actual or perceived gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and will represent an important step toward addressing police profiling.

We thank Senator Cardin and Representative Conyers for their leadership on this bill to help end racial profiling in this country, and we urge the swift passage of this vital legislation.