New York, NY—On Tuesday, Feb. 2, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed bill S1351/A3355 (Hoylman/Paulin), which repeals and seals convictions and violations of Penal Law 240.37, frequently called the “Walking While Trans” ban. The archaic and discriminatory law has been used since 1976 to forcefully target sex workers, allowing police officers to apprehend people based on their appearance and how they dress—many of whom are Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ people. Law enforcement have also misused this law to profile transgender and cisgender women of color for decades. In New York City, a recent survey found that 60 percent of transgender people reported being harassed by law enforcement.
“Harassment and discrimination are among the drivers of the HIV epidemic among transgender and gender non-conforming people, especially trans women of color,” said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. “All New Yorkers should be able to walk down the street without fear of being profiled simply for who they are and how they look. This new law will help reduce the persistent marginalization of these communities that has been a barrier to healthy lives.”
GMHC thanks Gov. Cuomo, Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Amy Paulin, and other lawmakers who voted to repeal this oppressive policy that targets trans women, especially trans women of color. We will continue working collaboratively to develop more constructive solutions that support New York’s LGBTQ+ communities with increased access to health services, employment, and education opportunities, without the threat of discriminatory policing.