(New York, NY, Wednesday, February 10, 2021)
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”) applauds Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for repealing Penal Law 240.37, an outdated law related to loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. WBASNY appreciates the work of the sponsors, Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, as well as the leadership in both houses, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. The broad application of Section 240.37 disproportionally harmed transgender women of color and Latino descent and those who had previously been arrested for prostitution offenses or were homeless, many times having been victims of sex trafficking and other exploitation and abuse. Their mere presence on the street had become a criminal offense. In addition, this exposure decreased the likelihood that these individuals would avail themselves of police and social services when they needed help or assistance.
“Repealing the archaic ‘walking while trans’ ban is a critical step toward reforming our policing system and reducing the harassment and criminalization transgender people face simply for being themselves. New York has always led the nation on LGBTQ rights, and we will continue that fight until we achieve true equality for all,” Governor Cuomo said.
WBASNY commends the Governor for recognizing the civil and due process rights and dignity of these individuals and the irreparable harm caused by the arbitrary and discriminatory application of this law upon a vulnerable population.
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The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for more than 4,000 attorneys throughout New York State, and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country. For four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, with professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families. Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.fice