Post Written By: Narissa Rahaman, Associate Regional Campaign Director
Pride Month recognizes the contributions of Black and Brown trans women in resisting police brutality — the bedrock on which the LGBTQ movement was founded. We remember it as a breakthrough moment when we refused to accept humiliation and fear as the price of living fully, freely and authentically. Our communities, however, are still targeted for being ourselves. The continuous failure to hold police accountable for misconduct, abuse and violence must end now.
Last week, the Human Rights Campaign joined more than 90 organizations across New York state urging the New York legislature to pass Assembly Bill 654 (Paulin) and Senate Bill 2253 (Hoylman), which would repeal New York state’s Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution law, in the package.
The Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution law, also known as the #WalkingWhileTrans law, has resulted in widespread police profiling, unjust arrests, police harassment and police violence — particularly in LGBTQ communities, immigrant communities and Black and Latinx communities. It must be repealed once and for all.
- In 2018, there was a 120% increase in arrests under the statute, with 47% of all arrests across New York state happening in Queens. Black and Latinx women, including transgender people, remain the most impacted.
- According to data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, in 2018, 91% of people arrested under the statute were Black and Latinx people, and 80% identified as women.
- Further compounding the problem of discriminatory and arbitrary arrests, more than 60%of transgender New Yorkers recently surveyed had previously been subject to police harassment and misconduct, including incidences of sexual assault, that discouraged them from seeking assistance from law enforcement all together.
New York state has made efforts to protect the rights and safety of transgender and gender non-confirming communities, but as long as the #WalkingWhileTrans ban remains, we will continue to see these communities experience profiling, harassment, coercion and unjust criminalization. By passing A654/S2253 and repealing the #WalkingWhileTrans ban, New York state will send a strong message that it values the civil rights, dignity and due process of all its residents — including Black and Latinx community members and transgender people who are disproportionately targeted.
Now, more than ever, we need the New York State Legislature to repeal laws that enable profiling, police harassment, sexual violence and other forms of police violence against Black and Brown communities, and pass measures that hold law enforcement officers accountable. Take action NOW. Email Senate and Assembly leadership and urge them to pass A654/S2253.