SERVE! Street Safety for Trans and
Gender Non-Conforming Youth

For trans and gender non-conforming youth of color, police profiling and harassment are dark realities of every day life. Some youth get stopped by police several times a week—some even get stopped more than once a day. Part of the struggle to stay safe in these interactions is knowing and exercising your rights. That’s why CUP teamed up with Streetwise and Safe (SAS) and designer James Dunphy to create SERVE! Street Safety for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Youth.

This pocket-sized know-your-rights guide helps youth advocate for themselves when they’re detained, searched, and in custody, as well as after they’re released. SERVE! also publicizes rules that protect the rights of trans and gender non-conforming people in the NYPD Patrol Guide, the rulebook that governs how police interact with the public. The design breaks down personal rights and gives youth examples of language they can use to advocate for them. SAS Youth Leaders participated in all parts of the design process, providing feedback that ensured that the design of the guide would speak directly to their community.

SERVE! was launched at a special event at SAS, which brought together youth from organizations across NYC that serve LGBTQQ youth of color. SAS will distribute 6,000 copies of the guide, and plans to integrate it into their youth-led know-your-rights trainings.

Resources & Links

Streetwise and Safe is a multi-strategy initiative working to build and share leadership, skills, knowledge and community among LGBTQQ youth of color who experience criminalization. 

James Dunphy is a Queens-born graphic designer/problem-solver looking to contribute to innovative projects with a social impact.

Public Access Design is a program of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP). Public Access Design projects use design to make complex urban issues accessible to the New Yorkers most affected by them.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by the James Conlon Fund, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Brendan Conner, Andrea Ritchie, Sandy Xu, Oscar Nuñez, and Jenn Anne Williams


  • CUP
  • Project Lead
  • Ingrid Haftel

  • Project Support
  • Christine Gaspar
    • Streetwise and Safe
    • Advocacy Partner
    • Mitchyll Mora

    • SAS Youth Leaders
    • Amos
    • Bilal
    • Danielle
    • Janell
    • Jordyn
    • Lotus
    • Peter
    • Tee
    • Trina
    • Willie
    • James Dunphy
    • Designer


    The Best Tips From CUP’s Transgender Police Guide
    • Out Magazine
    • July 15, 2015

    The guide, a pocket sized know-your-rights manual only 12 pages long, aims to serve as a resource for trans and gender non-conforming youth who may find themselves being detained, searched, or thrown into custody by the police. Breaking down personal rights and NYPD patrol guide rules into an easily digestible format, SERVEhopes to keep trans youth safe by keeping them informed.