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Policing Black Women and TGNC People

An Intersectional Study of Black Women, Trans and Gender Nonconforming People’s Encounters with Police

What we’re doing

The National Black Women’s Justice Institute is conducting a mixed-methods research project examining the experiences and interactions that Black women, trans, and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people have with police. 


The vast majority of interactions between police and the community are considered “routine, everyday” encounters: traffic stops, street stops, police patrolling neighborhoods, or responding to calls for assistance. Yet, each of these interactions pose a risk of harm to Black women and TGNC people. 


Using an intersectional framework, we will examine how “everyday” encounters with police inflict violence and harm on Black women and TGNC people, including on their emotional wellbeing and perceptions and experience of safety in their communities.

Why focus on Black women and TGNC people?

The experiences of cis- and transgender Black women, transmasculine, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people in police encounters have rarely been the central focus of policing research. As we consider new approaches to public safety, it is important that the experiences of marginalized genders within Black communities are centered in national conversations about policing to ensure we build toward the safety of all Black people in the United States. 

NBWJI’s research will: 


  • Increase awareness of the contexts and contents of Black women and TGNC people’s encounters with police.

  • Elevate and amplify the voices and experiences of Black women and TGNC people in national conversations about policing. 

  • Expand the national conversation about policing to integrate the experiences of Black women and TGNC people.

Beginning with an online survey, followed by in-depth interviews, NBWJI will explore the reasons for Black women and TGNC people’s encounters with police, the nature and quality of their interactions, whether force was used during any encounters they had, their perceptions of how police treated them, and the health effects of those interactions. The aim of the research is to elevate and amplify the voices and narratives of Black women and TGNC people, filling critical gaps in our collective understanding of how police encounters affect the entirety of the Black community. We intend to challenge our collective understanding of police violence, showing how even interactions that are considered mundane can cause great harm and threaten our perceptions of safety in our communities.


The NBWJI Policing the Intersections Survey is now live and open to U.S.-based Black women, trans, nonbinary or gender nonconforming people who are at least 18 years of age. Participation is confidential. The survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete. Eligible participants who complete the survey will receive a $10 digital gift card. Visit the link below for the survey.


How We’re Supporting the Mental Wellness & Healing Groups of Study Participants


As an offering to our Policing the Intersections study participants, New Visions Wellness Center will be providing mental wellness support groups on a rotating weekly schedule.


The experience of trauma can have a widespread impact on an individual’s life. Trauma can lead to or exacerbate mental illness, substance use, and physical health conditions. Trauma-informed care is an effective way to address the impact of trauma and meet the needs of those who have experienced trauma and violence. Trauma Informed Care assesses and understands the widespread impact of trauma and uses evidence-based treatment methods to promote healing. The healing groups that will be offered are based on trauma-informed care.


If you participated in the Policing the Intersections survey or interview, we invite you to join us!

Contact Janaé Bonsu for more information.

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