Nationwide civil rights leaders on Wednesday urged New York lawmakers to help the repeal of an anti-loitering measure they are saying unfairly targets transgender and gender nonconforming individuals.
The anti-loitering statute, also referred to as the “walking while trans” ban, was created to focus on people who find themselves loitering for the aim of partaking in intercourse work. The statute, nevertheless, consists of very imprecise phrases that basically permits police to cease anybody strolling on a sidewalk.
“We are deeply concerned that New York State continues to enforce NYS Penal Law § 240.37, an archaic anti-loitering law that has led law enforcement to engage in widespread profiling and harassment of the transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) community across the state,” reads the letter shared solely with HuffPost. (Scroll right down to learn the letter in full.)
The letter is co-signed by 34 nationwide and state civil rights organizations, together with the Middle for Constitutional Rights, the Nationwide Ladies’s Legislation Middle and the American Civil Liberties Union of New York.
Trans and gender nonconforming individuals, particularly trans girls of coloration, are profiled, harassed and arrested underneath the anti-loitering statute as a result of police assume they’re promoting intercourse resulting from their gender identification. Gender nonconforming individuals have been stopped for “wearing a skirt,” “waving at a car” and “standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand,” the letter states, citing police stories. Many of those run-ins and arrests have occurred whereas individuals have been merely on their option to go to a pal or go grocery procuring.
“On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, it is unconscionable that New York State’s Democratically-controlled legislature would continue to sanction the unconstitutional, state-sponsored harassment of TGNC people simply for ‘walking while trans,’” the letter reads.
It criminalizes our communities for simply current in public.
TS Candii, former intercourse employee and present VOCAL-NY chief
Repealing the anti-loitering legislation can be “literally life-saving,” stated TS Candii, a former intercourse employee and present chief at VOCAL-NY, a gaggle offering help to low-income individuals.
“It criminalizes our communities for just existing in public,” she informed HuffPost. “Just a few weeks ago, I was approached by an officer who threatened to arrest me for this charge if I didn’t give him oral sex. I did, because I had no choice. That is state-sanctioned sexual violence, but it happens every day to our trans communities.”
Along with repealing the “walking while trans” ban, the letter asks New York lawmakers to go a invoice that may permit human trafficking survivors to expunge their felony data for the intercourse work they have been compelled into. The letter says the invoice would permit “survivors to overcome previously insurmountable barriers to securing stable housing, employment, and social services access so they can move on with their lives.”
Decrim NY, a corporation working to decriminalize intercourse work in New York, informed HuffPost that the current dying of Layleen Cubilette Polanco ― an Afro-Latina trans girl who died in her cell at Rikers Island final week ― is one more instance of how legal guidelines just like the anti-loitering one can price trans individuals their lives. Polanco was in jail on prostitution and lowest-level drug possession costs stemming from a 2017 arrest.
Decrim NY and different advocacy teams supported the Cease Violence within the Intercourse Trades Act, a legislative package deal launched Monday that seeks to “decriminalizes and decarcerates” the intercourse commerce in New York. The laws was co-sponsored by Democratic state Sens. Julia Salazar and Jessica Ramos, in addition to Democratic state Reps. Richard Gottfried and Yuh-Line Niou.
“Sex work is work and should not be criminalized by the state,” Salazar stated Monday at a information convention.
“Our current policies only empower traffickers and others who benefit from keeping sex work in the shadows,” she added. “New York state needs to listen to sex workers and make these common-sense reforms to keep sex workers safe and empower sex workers in their workplaces.”
Learn the total letter from civil rights teams:
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