DWT: Driving While Trans
It was pitch dark on highway 41, I was on the phone with my girlfriend Traci when I noticed the red and blue flashing lights in my rearview mirror. “I’ll call you back” I said as I hung up the phone. I took a deep breath and pulled over.
I was coming home from the Town Hall meeting held at Roosevelt University in the south loop of Chicago. The meeting was to go over the Chicago Police Department’s new policy outlining the treament of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals when being processed through their system.
“Driver’s license and registrations please” he said. I didn’t see a flashlight, but I did see this bright white heavenly glow around him. He’s gorgeous! “Hello Officer.” I said batting my eyes slightly.
“I stopped you because your registration has been suspended due to an unpaid parking ticket in Racine.” I was going to get around to that, really I was, but I couldn’t say that to him. “Oh my God…Really???” I said playing clueless. “Yeah… did someone use your car and get a parking ticket?”
“Ugh…” I said sounding frustrated, “my mother, I let her use my car, and she’s ill you know, so…” The story is mostly true, my mom is a little on the crazy side, some would say ill, and I DO let her use my car, but she was not the one who got the ticket, I did.
“Can I see your license and registration please?”
“Yes” I said reaching into my glove compartment knowing I was about to pull out a registration that did not have my current name on it. I gave him my license and registration and as he walked back to the police car my anxiety began to kick in. Am I about to get arrested? Unpaid parking tickets? Can they take you to jail for that?
Suddenly the Chicago Police Department’s entire new transgender policy came flashing before my eyes. I remembered that at least they would not be able to put me jail with men. The gender marker on my driver’s license says female and according to the new policy, “An arrestee’s gender will be classified as it appears on the individual’s government issued identification card.”
He returned to the car with the friendliest face I’ve ever seen attached to a ticket. As he explained what I needed to do to clear the situation, I mostly heard “Wha Wha Wha.. you have a great night.” I wanted so badly to ask him out, but I decided to count my blessings, start my car, and keep it moving!
Other highlights from the policy include:
Strip Searches – The removal or rearrangement of some or all of the clothing of an arrestee to permit a visual inspection of the genitals, buttocks, anus, female breast, or undergarments.