The new protocol police and security forces must follow. Photo: Diario Noticias

The Security Ministry has recently approved the new “General Protocol for the Acting of Personal Records and Detention for Persons Belonging to the L.G.B.T Collective” to be used by the federal police and security forces. The measure, which is aimed at respecting the rights of persons of the LGBT community in the case of detention, is detailed in Resolution 1149-E / 2017.

Signed by Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, the resolution was published this morning in the Official Bulletin. The same text also approves documents which detail the model for “Detention and Notification of Rights Act” and the “Minimum Acting Guidelines for Personal Records and Detention in the Public Roads of Persons Belonging to the L.G.B.T Collective.”

In detailed arguments, the Ministry of Security references the Law No. 26,743 of Gender Identity which states that “Everyone has the right to the recognition of their gender identity, to the free development of their person according to their gender identity and to be treated in accordance with it and, in particular, to be identified in that way in the instruments that accredit their identity with respect to the first names, appearance and sex with which there is registered.”

The document continues, “In this sense, it is timely and convenient to establish a protocol of general action for federal police and security forces at the time of the arrest of a person belonging to the collective L.G.B.T.”

The protocol, which appears in Annex 1 of the resolution, details in 9 pages the steps which police and security forces must follow upon detention of a member of the LGBT community, and the initial acts of arrest: assurance, communication of rights, and preparation of the detention certificate.

For example, the text specifies that “the detained person will be housed according to the self-perceived gender, in a separate cell if they understand that there is a potential risk to their integrity, dignity or other rights or if, at the time of reporting their gender, they do not identifies with none of the male/female binomial.” Another protocol states detained individuals of the LGBT community “who need to use facilities differentiated by sex in the departments of (ex. Sanitary), will be consulted on whether they wish to use the facilities for men or women.”

Furthermore, the detention record model was also modified to ensure that the process of an individual’s detention “prevents a greater impact on the rights of the person, which, due to its nature, implies police action and guarantees respect for gender identity.”

The Ministry of Security also imposed a series of guidelines agents must follow in the detention of an individual who identifies with the LGBT community. The document asserts, “In the presence of a person who has opted for a gender that differs from their biological condition, or when the police personnel notice such a circumstance, they must dispense the treatment corresponding to the self-perceived gender, respecting that first name with which they feel identified, without prejudice as the documentation exhibits.”

The guidelines clarify that “in case of not having the documentation, the same act is applied, by the first name with which [the person] is identified and the gender with which it is self-perceived and timely expressed.” Furthermore, guidelines exist “in order to guarantee their dignity and preserve their privacy”. The question of gender identity should be asked with “calm tone and clear voice.”

The text distinctly asserts that, “You [Federal police and security forces] should not define terms that determine gender beforehand…Although the obligation of the intervening official is to address the person by the adopted first name, even if it is not included in the documentation, this does not strictly define the gender of the Person to Register.” Additionally, the document indicates, “Attempts will be made to have witnesses of the same gender as those chosen by the commander, in order not to undermine their right to privacy.”

Earlier this month, a woman was arrested on the C line subway for kissing her wife. The police force’s mistreatment and wrongful detention of the individual sparked protests and a gathering of different human rights and LGBT groups outside of the police station until the woman was released. Moving forward, these new protocols and changes will hopefully instigate a positive change in the treatment and protection of the LGBT community.