Nomi Michaels Devereaux had walked from the Jewel Osco grocery store in Lakeview, IL with her boyfriend. They stopped and she waited while he went into a friend’s home to pick up a game system. While she was waiting, and holding six bags of groceries, she was approached by police who removed the groceries and handcuffed her. Then they took her to a police station, where she was forced to remove her bra in front of men…who then mocked her.
Later she learned she had been arrested for solicitation.
She responded in a way that few transwomen do. She reported the incident. That report eventually resulted in a new general order for Chicago police. The order, among other things, says that transpeople should not be subjected to searches any more frequently…or more invasively…than nontransgender people. It also insists that transgender identity is not by itself evidence that a crime is occurring.
The phenomenon of police wrongly assuming that transwomen are engaged in sex work is known as walking while trans.