- The Washington Times - Monday, June 29, 2015

U.S. immigration officials said Monday that they will house detainees according to their preferred gender identity rather than their sex.

In new guidelines Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said staff will be trained for sensitivity on the treatment of transgender immigrants, including directions on obtaining detainees’ preference on which pronouns to use, what clothing to provide, and where to house them.

“ICE will allow for the placement of a transgender woman consistent with their gender identity, meaning that a transgender woman could be with biological females,” said Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, ICE’s deputy assistant director of custody programs.

Mr. Lorenzen-Strait also has been appointed as ICE’s national coordinator for issues related to LGBT immigrants.

Some activists said the Obama administrations rules may not be all they want.

“This is all interesting on paper, to say the least, but we need to see how this actually plays out,” Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, a policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Associated Press. “We don’t think these folks should be in detention centers, period.”

The U.S. Justice Department issued a similar rules in 2012 applying to prisons and jails.

Last week, Jennicet Gutiérrez heckled and interrupted President Obama at a gay pride event in Washington to protest the housing rules on transgender immigrants. She was heckled back by some in the audience and removed at the president’s request

“It is heartbreaking to see how raising these issues were received by the president and by those in attendance. In the tradition of how Pride started, I interrupted his speech because it is time for our issues and struggles to be heard. I stood for what is right. Instead of silencing our voices, President Obama can also stand and do the right thing for our immigrant LGBTQ community,” Ms. Guttierez told The Washington Blade.

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