Current Missouri law does not expand civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation. A report by independent think tank Movement Advancement Project says LGBT people of color are treated unfairly by the criminal justice system. Naomi Goldberg with the group says such individuals get arrested at a higher rate.
“When we talk about policing of communities of color, frequently it is trans or gender non-conforming people of color who are really on the front lines. There are stories of transgender women of color walking down the street who are profiled as being sex workers, simply for walking. Or you have LGBT kids who police harass or profile,” says Goldberg.
She says more work needs to be done to figure out why LGBT people of color get arrested at a higher rate.
“If we can work on addressing employment discrimination and housing discrimination, we can really stop the flow into the system and then we need to work on obviously fixing the system itself,” says Goldberg.
The report also says one in five young people in juvenile detention facilities identify as LGBTQ, and 85% are youth of color.
“Certainly when you look at conditions in jails and prisons, they are frequently the most unsafe,” says Goldberg.
Critics of the report argue that law enforcement is not arresting people on the basis of color or sexual orientation.