According to a recent national study, a startling 73% of all LGBT people and PLWH (people living with HIV) surveyed have had faceto-face contact with police during the past five years. Five percent of these respondents also report having spent time in jail or prison, a rate that is markedly higher than the nearly 3% of the U.S. adult population who are under some form of correctional supervision (jail, prison, probation, or parole) at any point in time.
LGBT people and PLWH are often targets rather than perpetrators of violence, enduring significant rates of violence and harassment at the hands of both community members and law enforcement. Transgender people of color in particular are three times more likely to be victims of harassment and assault than non-transgender people. Yet, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 48% of survivors who reported the violence to the police, reported incidents of police misconduct. Under these conditions, many people are afraid of the police and have nowhere to turn for help when they are victimized.
As outlined in this policy brief, justice continues to be elusive and conditional for LGBT people and PLWH due to a range of unequal laws and policies that dehumanize, victimize, and criminalize these populations, even as attitudes toward and acceptance of LGBT people have reached an all-time high.