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State Lawmakers Repeal ‘Walking While Trans’ Ban

Black Trans Lives Matter sign (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Feb. 3. 2021 By Michael Dorgan

New York state lawmakers have repealed legislation that critics say has been used by police to target transgender people in the name of curbing illegal prostitution.

Lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that repealed section 240.37 of the penal code which is commonly referred to as the “Walking While Trans” ban.

The section was originally passed in 1976 to criminalize people who loiter in public to solicit prostitution.

However, opponents have long argued that it has been used by police to discriminatorily harass and arrest transgender individuals – particularly those of color – without cause and often based on their appearance. The governor signed the repeal legislation into law late Tuesday.

The bill was introduced by State Sen. Brad Hoylman, an openly gay man representing part of Manhattan, who said that it had been a top priority for the LGBTQ community in New York.

“This outdated, discriminatory statute has led to hundreds of unnecessary arrests of transgender women of color and a broader culture of fear and intimidation for transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers,” Hoylman said in a statement.

The bill’s memo stated that Section 240.37 had led to police targeting “marginalized women in the commercial sex industry, a group at high risk for trafficking and other exploitation and abuse.”

From 2012 to 2015 for example, 85 percent of people arrested under the law were Black or Latinx, the memo stated citing city-data.

The bill was co-sponsored by Queens lawmakers Michael Gianaris and Jessica Ramos in the Senate.

Ramos called the vote “historic” and said that the WWT ban had been used by police to make discriminatory arrests.

“Repealing this law that only further adds to the mass incarceration of marginalized communities is the right thing to do,” Ramos said in a statement.

Queens lawmakers Catalina Cruz, David Weprin, Catherine Nolan and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas were among the co-sponsors of the Assembly version of the bill.

The bill does not decriminalize prostitution. However, it does seal prior convictions made under the statute.

Gov. Cuomo said that the bill was a critical step toward reforming the state’s policing system and reducing the harassment and criminalization of transgender people.

“For too long trans people have been unfairly targeted and disproportionately policed for innocent, lawful conduct based solely on their appearance,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“New York has always led the nation on LGBTQ rights, and we will continue that fight until we achieve true equality for all.”

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19 Comments

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Anonymous

Calling this law “walking while trans” is revisionist bull$hit. The law was designed and only designed to curb street prostitution and every politician over the age of 35 involved in this stunt knows it. Maybe the younger ones really don’t know New York’s relatively recent history but I doubt it.

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I am victim, therefore I am

Nailed it.

Unfortunately, common sense is lost on most people these days. They’re too eager to play victim.

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Too many laws

What the law was originally designed for and how it is being used or applied currently may be a legitimate issue. It’s called the “spirit of the law”. Prosecutors are suppose to review cases to prevent this type of abuse.

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would you be pegged as transgender

if you actually LOOKED like the gender you intended to dress up as this day? or any day?

srsly, make yourself BELIEVABLE in the gender role you want to portray! that means enough with the stage make up when you go to the store!

just go about your day AS A NORMAL PERSON. BEHAVE YOURSELF AND YOU WONT GET ARRESTED!!!!!

DOES THIS REALLY NEED TO BE SAID??? why do preschoolers know this already but adults always forget???

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Seriously?

You really believe that people should be arrested for being bad at makeup? And what exactly do you mean by “behave yourself”? Maybe you should move to a nice UAE country where women really can be arrested for how they dress, but last time I checked that’s not something we do here.

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Yikes.

It already is…I couldn’t believe my eyes on Friday night. I drove by and it was full on streetwalker central. In the past it’s been somewhat discreet but it was just a free-for-all, nary a cop in sight. Guess all the girls are celebrating!!!

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We need a "Rioting at the Capitol" ban

The bill does not decriminalize prostitution. Does it affect you in any way at all?

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Biological reality

A man cannot magically morph into a woman by simply self-identifying as such. Sex is fundamentally determined by chromosomes which cannot be changed by any surgery or hormone therapy. That is real science.

However. People are free to believe they are anything they perceive themselves to be. Likewise, people are free not to believe it. (At least for the time being).

I self-identify as a billionaire but my accountant begs to differ.

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Not really

Sex and gender are two different things. Sex is biological, as you say (i.e. chromosomes), whereas gender is social (how someone dresses, talks, whether or not they wear makeup, etc.– none of these have anything at all to do with biology). It is true that for much of human history we have treated sex and gender as if they are the same thing, but it’s also true that for much of human history people whose gender identity seems out of sync with their biological sex have been shunned, tormented, raped, murdered, and discriminated against because of it (the “Walking While Trans” policy is an example).

I have a hard time understanding why anyone feels the need to police someone else’s gender identity. I guess it makes you uncomfortable because it suggests there’s more to the world than the very narrow norms and definitions you impose on yourself?

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Biological reality

Did I even use the word gender? Read more carefully before getting on your high horse.

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Again-

No need to be offended. What you described in your first post re: chromosomes is the concept of sex. The “self identification” you seem to have a problem with is about gender. I’m simply pointing out the difference.

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This article is about gender

Agreed, your rant is completely unrelated to the article. This article is about transgender people and gender.

Your rant was something about how there are two sexes? Great…

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You failed Biology

Hermaphroditism, the condition of having both male and female reproductive organs. Hermaphroditic plants—most flowering plants, or angiosperms—are called monoecious, or bisexual.

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under the clothes is not what this is about

its the clothes or how the person portrays themselves… eyeshadow worse than tammy faye bakker when they are not performing on a stage…

no one would know [or care] what you identify with [that day] unless you tell us.

wear the dress or wear the tuxedo. just behave yourself.

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Anonymous

No Lola I wouldn’t date a transgendered woman. Because a transgendered woman is a man. I am not physically attracted to men.

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