(Updated with the signature of the law by the governor)
New York, Feb 2 (EFE) .- The Assembly and Senate of New York repealed this Tuesday a 1976 law against the practice of prostitution in public spaces that city police officers have used regularly to arrest transsexual women, especially black and Latina, as denounced by numerous legislators and NGOs.
The law, popularly known as the prohibition of trans women from walking, allowed law enforcement officers to arrest and harass anyone who was allegedly practicing prostitution, on vague precepts that were often limited to their appearance or manner of wear.
“This bill is a monumental victory for black and brown transgender women across the state and a fundamental step in reducing the criminalization of trans women,” the NGO Make the Road New York said in a statement to celebrate the vote. repeal.
A trans member of this association, Mayra Colon, showed her “overflowing joy” at the decision of the two New York legislative chambers, controlled by the Democratic Party, and said that for years she has been harassed by the police for walking with her husband or for his way of dressing.
“When my husband and I went out at night, I always carried my marriage certificate. In case of being stopped, I could prove to the police officers that we were married and avoid being arrested under the law of loitering for the purpose of prostitution,” she said Colon.
The reform was proposed by State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who were joined by numerous politicians in support.
“The New York Senate has passed the law to repeal the ban on trans women from walking, an outdated rule that police used to arrest and harass transgender women. This is a huge victory for the fight for equality.” Hoylman wrote on his Twitter account.
Hours after the new regulations were accepted by both Houses, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo printed his signature on the document, the last step for the law to take effect.
“I just signed legislation rejecting the discriminatory ban on trans women from walking. For too long, trans people have been unfairly and disproportionately targeted by the police for innocent behavior based on their appearance. New York will never stop the fight for the rights and justice of LGTBI, “Cuomo said in a brief statement.
The end of this rule, advocated by the opposition Republican Party, was an old demand of human rights activists and gained renewed strength during the Black Lives Matter movement that emerged in May last year after the murder of the African American citizen George Floyd at the hands of a policeman.
The LGTBI movement in New York backed these protests by joining the marches and holding parallel rallies, many of them led by black and Latino transgender activists. EFE