Activists: Repeal of ‘Walking While Trans’ law is a victory for the community

The law was first passed in 1976 to prohibit loitering for the purpose of prostitution. But activists say it led to the arrest of law-abiding trans and cisgender women of color.

News 12 Staff

Feb 5, 2021, 1:16 AM

Updated 1,165 days ago

Share:

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that repeals the so-called Walking While Trans law.  Activists say this is a victory for the trans community. 
They say the law unfairly targeted people of color. The law was first passed in 1976 to prohibit loitering for the purpose of prostitution. But activists say it led to the arrest of law-abiding trans and cisgender women of color. 
Stefanie Rivera, director of client services at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, was picked up under the policy years ago and says it still haunts her. 
"I had my hands broken, and I was not allowed to seek medical attention. I had to take myself to the hospital after the fact, and so I remember stuff like that and so for me, it's like those types of things live with you,” said Rivera. 
State Sen. Brad Hoylman was proud to sponsor the bill in the Senate. He says the transgender community has been overlooked for decades. 
“When the human rights law was signed over 20 years ago, it didn't include transgender New Yorkers, and we fixed that just two years ago,” said Hoylman. 
Now, advocates say it’s a small step that will allow members of the community to feel safe. 
Another aspect of the repeal includes sealing records of those convicted of the offense, which previously prohibited trans people from seeking employment and housing. 


More from News 12
2:05
Community advocates say they'll call for changes in aftermath of NYPD's decision in Kawaski Trawick case

Community advocates say they'll call for changes in aftermath of NYPD's decision in Kawaski Trawick case

1:47
STORM WATCH: Scattered strong storms overnight in New York City

STORM WATCH: Scattered strong storms overnight in New York City

0:25
Police: Man who punched 9-year-old girl at Grand Central Terminal arrested

Police: Man who punched 9-year-old girl at Grand Central Terminal arrested

0:28
Israel hails success in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack. G7 democracies condemn attack

Israel hails success in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack. G7 democracies condemn attack

0:43
NYPD: Victims identified, arrest made in Fordham crash that killed 2

NYPD: Victims identified, arrest made in Fordham crash that killed 2

1:22
FDNY: Cement truck overturns on Cross Bronx Expressway entrance ramp in West Farms

FDNY: Cement truck overturns on Cross Bronx Expressway entrance ramp in West Farms

1:40
Demonstrators outside Kings Plaza Mall push for changes to immigration policy

Demonstrators outside Kings Plaza Mall push for changes to immigration policy

1:27
NYPD deploys resources to places of worship amid increased Middle East tensions

NYPD deploys resources to places of worship amid increased Middle East tensions

1:27
Lickety Split Ice Cream in City Island to mark 20 years in business

Lickety Split Ice Cream in City Island to mark 20 years in business

0:35
2 men arrested, accused in Fordham jewelry store armed robbery

2 men arrested, accused in Fordham jewelry store armed robbery

2:04
CDC: Most women do not get a mammogram because of financial difficulties

CDC: Most women do not get a mammogram because of financial difficulties

0:58
Police: 3 New York City residents arrested for organized retail theft at New Jersey mall

Police: 3 New York City residents arrested for organized retail theft at New Jersey mall

0:32
MTA police: Man punched 9-year-old girl in face at Grand Central Terminal

MTA police: Man punched 9-year-old girl in face at Grand Central Terminal

1:41
Street vendors on Fordham Road say rise in summonses is making it difficult to make a living

Street vendors on Fordham Road say rise in summonses is making it difficult to make a living

1:32
NYPD: Crash in Fordham leaves 2 men dead

NYPD: Crash in Fordham leaves 2 men dead

1:39
What you need to know about this weekend's L train closure

What you need to know about this weekend's L train closure

0:22
Police: 14-year-old girl from Soundview reported missing

Police: 14-year-old girl from Soundview reported missing

1:38
Community baby shower in Brownsville aims to help underprivileged moms

Community baby shower in Brownsville aims to help underprivileged moms

1:35
CDC: Measles could lose 'elimination status' amid uptick across the U.S.

CDC: Measles could lose 'elimination status' amid uptick across the U.S.

2:12
Family in mourning after loved one fatally struck by car in Concourse Village hit-and-run

Family in mourning after loved one fatally struck by car in Concourse Village hit-and-run