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Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal Issues the “LGBTQ Equality Directive,”

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, In conjunction with the release of a report by the Transgender Equality Task Force, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced three major new steps to protect residents from discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

First, the Attorney General issued a directive to all state, county, and local law enforcement agencies that governs interactions with transgender individuals. Attorney General Directive 2019-3, known as the “LGBTQ Equality Directive,” is designed to ensure that all individuals are guaranteed safety and dignity in their encounters with law enforcement, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

In addition, the Attorney General today also announced a new public awareness campaign by the Division on Civil Rights to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or intersex (LGBTQ+) individuals under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, and an expanded policy by the Juvenile Justice Commission regarding LGBTQ+ juveniles.

The Directive includes the following provisions, among others:

  • Law enforcement officers shall not stop, question, search, arrest or detain any individual, or subject any individual to more invasive search procedures, because of the individual’s actual or perceived gender identity or expression and/or sexual orientation.
  • Officers shall not inquire about details of a person’s sexual practices or anatomy unless it is necessary to an ongoing criminal investigation.
  • Officers shall not publicly disclose an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity unless there is a proper law enforcement purpose or the individual agrees.
  • Officers shall address individuals using their chosen names – even if the name is not the one on official records – as well as their chosen pronouns.
  • As a general rule, officers shall perform any actions that turn on gender in line with the individual’s gender identity, regardless of gender assigned at birth or anatomical characteristics. For example, this means that for the purpose of conducting a search, officers shall treat a transgender woman as they would treat any other woman, and officers shall treat a transgender man as they would treat any other man.

The Directive also includes an appendix that offers definitions of key terms and explains language considered offensive to the LGBTQ+ community that must be avoided.

The Division of Criminal Justice will develop a training program on the Directive, which all officers will be required to complete by June 1, 2020. At the same time, the Directive requires County Prosecutors to engage in efforts to educate the public about the Directive. It also directs all law enforcement agencies to seek to establish relationships with LGBTQ+ organizations and community leaders to maintain a dialogue about issues affecting transgender individuals.

Attorney General Directive 2019-3 is posted at AG Directive 2019-3

Division on Civil Rights (DCR) Public Awareness Campaign

At the same time, DCR is doubling down on its efforts to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination or harassment based on gender identity or expression and/or sexual orientation by launching a campaign to ensure that affected residents know their rights under New Jersey law. DCR has issued four new fact sheets, laying out “5 Things You Should Know” about the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), that are being distributed in public and on social media, and that are posted online on the Division’s website at this link: LGBTQ+ Fact Sheets.

Among other things, the new information sheets make clear that:

  • An employer may not make employment decisions like hiring or firing, promotions and benefits based on LGBTQ+ status or gender stereotypes. A landlord cannot refuse to lease, charge higher rent, offer different amenities or refuse repairs based on LGBTQ+ status. And a place of public accommodation (such as a school or a doctor’s office) cannot refuse service or offer a different degree of service or care based on LGBTQ+ status.
  • Individuals must be treated consistently with their gender identity or expression, which includes being addressed by their chosen names and pronouns and being allowed to use the appropriate restroom or changing room.
  • The LAD also prohibits harassment based on LGBTQ+ status in a way that creates a hostile environment. If an employer, housing provider or place of public accommodation knows or should have known about such harassment, it must take action to stop it.
  • An employer, landlord or place of public accommodation cannot retaliate against a person for exercising or attempting to exercise their rights under the LAD.

Each information sheet advises members of the public to go to NJCivilRights.gov or call the Division on Civil Rights at 973-648-2700 to find out more or to file a complaint alleging a violation of these rights.

One thought on “Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal Issues the “LGBTQ Equality Directive,”

  1. This guy is a complete fucking idiot.
    With all the bullshit going down in Bergen County THIS
    Is what’s got the AG ‘s attention?

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