Transgender Trouble: Florida Cop in Hot Water for Identifying a Man as a Man

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Ft. Lauderdale Police Officer James Brinton was dragged before the Citizens Police Review Board this week to answer a complaint filed by an individual he pulled over back in January. Shelby Kendall, a transgender “female” who was busted drag racing, says Brinton purposely “misgendered” her when he wrote the citation. Recognized as female by the State of Florida, Brinton says there’s no excuse for a cop to ignore the documentation provided.

“If I’ve done everything I need to do for the state of Florida to recognize me as a female, he doesn’t have a right to purposely misgender me,” said Kendall. “It was inappropriate and kind of bullying and sends a message to the transgender community.”

Brinton said that while Kendall’s information came up identifying the suspect as female, he used his powers of perception to determine that it must have been a mistake. He resumed writing the citation before asking Kendall why her driver’s license showed “female.” Kendall explained that she identified as female and had gotten the proper documentation from the state. Brinton, not wishing to go back and rewrite the ticket, reportedly told her: “Well, for the purposes of this citation, you’re a male.”

Three days later, Kendall filed a complaint against Officer Brinton.

“I wasn’t really contesting why I was pulled over,” Kendall said. “I was more contesting how I was treated. You can turn a very small, minor detail into a very big deal. I wanted to see change in the department in case other people experience the same thing.”

In comments to the local paper, LGBT activist Michael Rajner said that police officers should receive more training in order to prevent these incidents in the future.

“What concerns me is that the officer felt it was not necessary for him to correct the citation,” said Rajner. “He robbed that individual of her dignity.”

Oh. So a 48-year-old man is claiming to be a woman while drag-racing a Camaro down the streets of Fort Lauderdale, but the POLICE OFFICER robbed his dignity away? Interesting.

Ultimately, the Review Board decided that the entire Fort Lauderdale Police Department should undergo additional training on how to deal with transgender suspects, a recommendation that will include having all officers watch a 13-minute video produced by the Department of Justice. They also determined that Officer Brinton should receive a written reprimand for refusing to play along with Kendall’s delusion.

Look, if a dude wants to “change his identity” to female and have everyone use the pronoun “her,” that’s fine and well. We’ll go along to get along. But if there are those who won’t, we can’t exactly blame them. And if mistakes are made, well, that’s obviously going to happen when this entire situation is based on what amounts to mental illness. As bizarre as it is for courts and state governments to recognize this delusion, it’s even more ridiculous to actually penalize people for doing nothing more or less than stating a fact.