UK trans police officer sues force over ‘forced outing’

Essex Police is accused of failing to investigate after three ocassions where radio control staff were accused of questioning a woman's identity

UK trans police officer sues force over ‘forced outing’
18 October 2013

A British trans police officer is suing her force after she was allegedly forced to out herself on radio.

Emma Chapman, 44, claims Essex Police control room staff had questioned about being trans on the radio on three separate occasions.

Essex Police disputes the allegations.

According to legal documents, seen by the BBC, the first occasion happened when the operator did not believe who she was, claiming she had a ‘male voice’.

In her witness statement, Chapman said: ‘I felt a combination of alarm and distress.

‘I replied, “I am a transsexual”.

‘I felt very embarrassed and desperate. The incident took my breath away.

The radio channel, listened to by hundreds of officers and staff, led her to feeling ‘very distressed’.

She reported the incident, but claims Essex police failed to carry out a full investigation.

Two further occasions occurred in June 2013 when the officer, again, was challenged by control room staff who questioned her identity.

‘I felt a growing sense of apprehension whenever I had to use the radio, concerned that there may be further, similar incidents,’ she said.

‘The radio is also a lifeline at times and I should not have to feel hesitant or anxious about using it.’

The officer said the incidents created an ‘intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’ for her to work in.

An Essex Police spokesman has agreed the conversations between Chapman and the control room had taken place.

However, they are disputing the ‘precise wording and tone’ was used.

Chapman has turned down an out-of-court settlement.

While the police officer could receive compensation of up to £3000 ($4.9k, €3.5k), she says she wanted to make public the way trans people are often treated at their jobs and in their life.

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