Senator Shelley Mayer’s Statement Regarding the Senate Passage of the “Walking While Trans” Law

On Tuesday, February 2nd, the New York State Senate passed S.1351, the “Walking While Trans” bill by a vote of 45 to 16. This bill, sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman, repeals the crime of “Loitering for the Purposes of Engaging in Prostitution.” Sadly, this law has been used to target transgender individuals—particularly those who are people of color—whose dress and appearance leads to stereotyped assumptions about their conduct. The law was originally adopted in 1976, and led to the disproportionate targeting of transgender people through arrest and prosecution primarily in New York City. Assemblymember Amy Paulin sponsored the bill in the Assembly. 
Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “Thank you to all of the advocates in my district and statewide who called, wrote emails, and sent letters urging that the state legislature ensure justice for transgender New Yorkers by repealing the ‘Walking While Trans’ law. I am proud to have co-sponsored this bill and stand with the LGBTQ+ community as we continue to make New York State safer for transgender people. The past year brought many issues to the forefront that had plagued our society, including disparate use of criminal laws. Repealing the ‘Walking While Trans’ law is an important step forward to ensure the criminal justice system does not use criminal laws to reinforce prejudice and stereotypes. I want to commend our Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah for her strong support of this bill." 
The repeal of the “Walking While Trans” law builds on the Senate Majority Conference’s work to reform our system of policing and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities of color they are pledged to serve. Click here for the Policing Reforms Legislative Package advanced by the Senate Majority Conference in June 2020.