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ANN ARBOR, MI – March 31, 2021 – Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit, with the assistance of the non-profit Fair Michigan Foundation, today announced the issuance of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Directive on respecting gender identity. The directive requires employees in the Prosecutor’s Office to treat transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming individuals in a manner appropriate to the individual’s gender identity, which may be different from the sex the individual was assigned at birth or listed on official identification documents.
The announcement comes on International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.
The policy directs Prosecutor’s Office employees to classify an individual’s gender identity in accordance with statements or requests made by the individual, regardless of the individual’s appearance. In addition, employees will address transgender individuals by their chosen name and preferred pronouns. Employees will not refer to any person in a derogatory manner because of their gender identity or gender expression.
The policy is similar to ones adopted by the Prosecutor’s Offices in Wayne County and Ingham County. Fair Michigan developed the policy in 2016 in collaboration with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy to address persistent problems faced by transgender Michiganders in encounters with the criminal justice system.
“If we’re serious about serving the community, we must treat all members of the community with respect,” Prosecuting Attorney Savit said. “Today’s directive will help ensure that transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming people are treated respectfully by every member of our office. I’m grateful to Fair Michigan for their partnership in crafting today’s directive. We look forward to our future collaboration to ensure the safety of our LGBTQ communities.”
Fair Michigan president Alanna Maguire said, “As we have seen in Wayne and Ingham Counties, this policy should promote positive interactions between prosecutors and crime victims and witnesses who are transgender. When transgender people know that they will be respected and properly identified, they are more likely to cooperate with law enforcement investigations and prosecutions. It is particularly fitting on International Transgender Day of Visibility, that Prosecutor Savit is taking this productive step to promote justice for transgender persons.”
The policy can be viewed in full at https://www.washtenaw.org/DocumentCenter/View/20101/Transgender-Interaction-Policy.
Fair Michigan is a non-profit corporation seeking to end discrimination against persons based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.