CHICAGO
03/12/2012 02:11 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2012

Bianca Feliciano, Transgender Teen, Sues Police, Reopening Sensitivity Discussion

A transgender teen's harassment lawsuit against Cicero, Ill. police officers coincides with a statewide effort to provide sensitivity training to police officers who confront issues of race and gender while on the job.

Bianca Feliciano, 18, filed suit against the town of Cicero and two police officers she says verbally abused and threatened her specifically because she is transgendered, according to the Chicago Tribune. The suit claims officers accused Feliciano of fraud because her ID identifies her as a female.

Feliciano's case underscores a growing movement in Illinois to improve police interactions with minority groups, including across race and gender identity lines.

An Illinois House committee recommended launching a police sensitivity task force last week to investigate instances of racial insensitivity, following a heated discussion between Rep. Jim Sacia of Freeport, who is white, and Rep. Mary Flowers of Chicago, who is black, according to WLS.

This month, Chicago could also see movement on the issue of police sensitivity training. Alderman Proco Joe Moreno has been campaigning for a mandated policy that would guide police interaction with transgender individuals, accompanied by an oversight committee, the Windy City Times reports.

"It's a human rights issue," Moreno said, according to the Windy City Times, citing a "hole in the policy of the police of Chicago."

Moreno has proposed an ordinance that would include an 11-person, volunteer commission comprised of Chicago Police officers and representatives of the transgender community. The ordinance boasts support of nearly 80 local organizations.

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