It was four years ago that the San Francisco Police Commission unanimously passed a policy mandating that police respect a person's pronoun choices.
It's a policy that seems to be working well but, even in the best of circumstances, mistakes happen.Last week, during an alleged abduction case involving a young transwoman near San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf on March 7, San Francisco Police Department Special Victims Unit put out a news release offering details about the woman's disappearance.
In a move that prompted immediate criticism, the release deadnamed the victim, as well as placed her name in quotation marks.
Deadnaming is the act of referring to a trans or nonbinary person by the name they used prior to transitioning. "Unfortunately, our use of quotation marks around the individual's lived name was widely perceived by the community as delegitimizing and hurtful," wrote Matt Dorsey, the gay civilian director of communications for SFPD, in an email to the Bay Area Reporter, sent out in recognition of the error.The use of quotation marks, he added, was meant to convey the SFPD's use of a spelling found in the case's incident report, a spelling that was different from others seen in some of the social media posts by her friends publicizing the incident.