Legal Aid Society

Incarcerated TGNCNBI New Yorkers Deserve Safety & Respect

The Legal Aid Society is calling on lawmakers to pass the Gender Identity Respect, Dignity, and Safety (GIRDS) Act to ensure incarcerated TGNCNBI New Yorkers have access to fundamental rights and protections. The current prison and jail system renders TGNCNBI people invisible and extremely vulnerable to the worst harms of abuse and neglect.

Hear the Testimony

We asked members of NYC’s LGBTQ+ community to help us uplift the voices of incarcerated TGNCNBI (transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and/or intersex) people by reading letters that transgender and gender expansive people in custody have written to us. The videos that follow show these volunteers reading the words of incarcerated people, hoping to raise awareness of the plight these individuals face behind bars and the critical need to pass the GIRDS Act now.

What GIRDS Does

This bill reduces the harm TGNCNBI people experience in prison and jail by requiring state and local correctional facilities, including NYC Department of Correction, to:

  • House TGNCNBI people consistently with their gender identities or where the person would feel most safe.
  • Ensure that correctional officers and staff address people by their names and pronouns.
  • Guarantee access to commissary items, clothing, and programming consistent with gender identities.
  • Establish a right to be searched by officers of the same gender identity.
  • Creates a right of action so that TGNCNBI people harmed by a failure to abide by these laws can seek redress.

Go Deeper: Crisis in New York City Jails

The New York City Council’s Task Force on Issues Facing Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, and Intersex People in Custody has released an in-depth report detailing the crisis TGNCNBI individuals face in New York City Jails. Read the full report here.

A former DOC Chief of Staff, Dana Wax, published a powerful op-ed in The New York Times on the crisis awaiting trans people housed in the New York City jails. Read it here.

Demand Respect for TGNCNBI New Yorkers

Tell your state legislator to pass the Gender Identity Respect Dignity and Safety Act.

Act Now