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What's in a name: officers learn how to avoid misgendering and other microaggressions

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Orlando Police Department completed training Tuesday on how to interact with members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The three-hour Safe Zone training was put on by the University of Central Florida Police. 

Lieutenant Brandon Ragan with OCSO says training focuses on basic terminology along with: 

"How to interact with someone if you're not sure about pronouns and how to you know be respectful when asking that question so you can identify individuals properly by the way they like to be identified and then again a lot of that terminology as a foundation to just give it just a broader understanding of our LGBTQ+ community."

Ragan says something as simple as using someone’s chosen pronouns increases the likelihood of people reporting a crime or asking for help. 

"And it just gives them that sense of, you know, peace and acknowledgement, you know, that, they really do care how I identify and they do, that starts that respecting back and forth when you're trying to build a rapport."

He says this could save lives. So far this year, the Human Rights Campaign says at least 14 transgender people across the country have been shot or killed in other violent ways.

Along with officers, the training is available to local community members and businesses. Learn more about the training and register for it here.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.
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