A transgendered female participating in an anti-war protest was singled out, arrested and abused early Friday morning in Portland, Oregon.  Local transgenders are upset, and demanding explanations in response to the treatment by the Portland Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Dept.

In addition, the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) has expressed deep concern at the initial reports of this incident.  NTAC's chair, Vanessa Edwards Foster, called the news "especially troubling" and worthy of deeper investigation.

According to eyewitness reports, when police arrived at the Burnside Bridge near downtown Portland on Friday, March 21, they surrounded the crowd in full riot gear.  Once in place, they announced over a loud speaker that everyone could leave, and that anyone who chose to remain would be arrested for disorderly conduct. One male-to-female transgender was singled out by authorities for what was called "unwarranted verbal and physical abuse" on multiple occasions, and in front of several witnesses. As the transgendered female protester, identified only as Jane Doe, was leaving before being arrested, police grabbed her as she walked away and arrested her. Other members of the crowd were able to stand and leave without harassment.

After being detained, she was continually harassed both verbally and physically by the Portland police and sheriff's deputies.  Those arrested were then transported to an isolated location below a bridge where the arrestees were separated into groups. During this phase, the transgendered female was mocked by the police and locked in a cage by herself.

Once back at the police station, one of the officers commented that her voice was too deep to be a female and informed her that she would have to use the toilet in a cell full of men. She was eventually allowed to use a separate bathroom, as were the other females.

Ms. Doe was then forced to strip down to long underwear and a small tank top unlike the other women detainees. On at least two occasions, her genitals were touched to "verify" the police officer's suspicions that she was really "a male."

The male officers taunted her and continued to use the pronoun "he". When Ms. Doe informed them that they were not respecting her pronouns, and referred to the Oregon Transgendered Act, the unnamed officer in charge told her "this is not English class and I'll use whatever pronouns I want".  Her arm was then twisted behind her back and she was thrown facedown onto the jail floor.

After being instructed to take her facial piercings, and after Ms. Doe verbally agreed, they again threw her to the floor and repeated the request, saying, "don't say you will do it, just do it." At least six police officers witnessed the incident without. According to the witness at the scene, several of the officers laughed throughout the procedure. After removal of her piercings, and more of the singularly rough treatment, she was placed in solitary confinement and denied opportunity to call an attorney.  The jailer in charge at that point said that the right to a phone call and to speak with an attorney were "television rights" and didn't have any validity in their jail.

"I am terribly disappointed in the alleged actions by members of the Portland Police Department," said NTAC Media Director, Robyn Walters.  "I have long looked on Portland as an enlightened city."  Portland and Multnomah County, in which it sits, both have strong legislation protecting various classes against discrimination.  One of the protected categories is "gender identity" - or transgenders.

"Laws don't erase all bigotry," Walters added "but they can help to expose it and punish it."

Several witnesses plan to file official complaints, and the transgender victim may consider further options against the public officials in question.