Today, the National Center for Transgender Equality, along with over a dozen other local and national LGBTQ equality organizations, submitted a letter to the New York City Council urging them to prohibit police profiling based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The statement reads:
From Stonewall to stop and frisk, LGBTQ people – and particularly LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ youth and transgender and gender nonconforming people – have long been targets of profiling and other forms of discriminatory policing. These consequences have ranges from death to deportation, assault to arrest, homophobic harassment to humiliation.
The New York Times highlighted the significance of this problem when they reported on the experience of Yhatzine Lafontain, a 24-year-old gay man. In March of this year, Lafontain and a friend of his were arrested for being suspected of prostitution because they were dressed in drag.
A Make the Road New York study of a single NYC neighborhood earlier this year found that, of the more than 300 survey respondents, 54% of LGBT respondents experienced some form of police profiling compared to only 28% of straight respondents.
Read the full letter below:
Dear New York City Council,
We commend the New York City Council for leading the way toward putting an end to discriminatory policing of all of our communities by passing a comprehensive and enforceable ban on police profiling and establishing independent oversight of the New York City Police Department.
We congratulate New York City for making history by prohibiting police profiling based on sexual orientation and gender identity by law, along with race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, housing status, immigration status and disability, including HIV status.
From Stonewall to stop and frisk, LGBTQ people – and particularly LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ youth, and transgender and gender nonconforming people – have long been targets of profiling and other forms of discriminatory policing. The consequences have ranged from death to deportation, assault to arrest, homophobic harassment to humiliation.
Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety, including fear of police profiling and discriminatory policing practices. Profiling – whether it’s based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity – has no place in our society.
We thank you for your courage in protecting our right to safety while protecting our right to be free from discrimination in all its forms, including by police charged with protecting us. We urge you to continue to stand firm with LGBTQ people and communities of color, and to vote against efforts to veto this landmark legislation and turn back the clock on this victory. The safety of LGBTQ New Yorkers depends on it.
Ali Forney Center
Black and Pink
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GSLEN)
Gay Men’s Heath Crisis (GMHC)
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
National Center for Transgender Equality
New York City Anti-Violence Project
Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ)
Streetwise and Safe (SAS)
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)