The Legal Aid Society and trans rights activists across New York are celebrating the repeal of P.L. 240.37 – also known as the “walking while trans” ban – a law against loitering for the purposes of prostitution that critics had long decried as a tool to target transgender individuals solely on the basis of their appearance. Frequently, targets of the stop-and-frisk type of enforcement were women of color.
In 2016 Legal Aid partnered with 8 clients and Cleary Gottlieb to bring a class-action lawsuit against the City of New York and New York Police Department (NYPD) officers in a challenge against the city’s abusive enforcement of the statute. Subsequently in 2019, the NYPD agreed to revise its Patrol Guide section governing loitering for purposes of engaging in prostitution, and specifically prohibited officers from relying on “gender, gender identity, clothing, and location” to establish probable cause to make an arrest.” The repeal brings an official end to the of the discriminatory practice, as reported by CNN.
A statement released by The Legal Aid Society praised the development, “which now specifically prohibits officers from relying on ‘gender, gender identity, clothing, and location’ alone or in combination to establish probable cause, and requires more detailed factual narratives about officers’ observations.”
Last Updated: 3 February 2021
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