On Monday, national and international LGBT organizations – including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and GLAAD – joined with local LGBTQ organizations to urge New York City legislators to defend historic legislation banning discriminatory police profiling against a veto by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“We know all too well the impact that police profiling has on marginalized communities. LGBT people – especially transgender people and LGBT people of color – are unjustly targeted by law enforcement for harassment and policing at unbelievably high rates,” said Darlene Nipper, Deputy Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the New York City Council for passing this historic law and urges all Council Members to stand up for equality and vote to override Mayor Bloomberg’s veto.”
The passage of the legislation made history just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act by creating the first enforceable ban against police profiling based on sexual orientation and gender identity, alongside race, religion, immigration status, age, gender, housing status, disability, and HIV status.
The statement issued by 34 local and national LGBTQ organizations noted that “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.”
The statement’s signatories called on legislators 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.”
“New York City has an opportunity to be a national leader by ending profiling that unfairly targets people based on their characteristics, including LGBT people and all people of color. Lambda Legal’s national survey of police and other government misconduct highlights the ways police profiling and violence impacts LGBT people and people with HIV,” stated Beverly Tillery, Director of Community Education and Advocacy at Lambda Legal. “Twenty-five percent of all respondents to our survey with recent police contact reported at least one type of misconduct or harassment such as verbal assault, sexual harassment, physical assault or sexual assault. Respondents of color, those who were low-income, and transgender respondents all were much more likely to report having experienced at least one type of this misconduct. These measures are an important step toward building a better relationship between the NYPD and our communities.”
“Profiling of Black and Brown youth of color, whether we are straight or LGBTQ, whether we are homeless or live in public housing, whether we are HIV positive or negative, whether we are immigrants or not, does not make any of us safer,” said Mitchyll Mora of Streetwise and Safe. “We are counting on the New York City Council to help keep youth of color, including women of color and LGBTQ youth of color, safe from police profiling of all kinds.”
“Police violence is a pervasive problem facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in New York City, who are profiled for their perceived or actual gender identity and sexual orientation,” said Shelby Chestnut, Co-Director of the New York York City Anti-Violence Project’s Community Organizing and Public Advocacy Department. “Our clients and community members tell us stories every day about being profiled by police and subjected to harassment, mis-arrest, violence at the hands of the police based on their perceived gender identity, sexual orientation, and immigration status. We applaud the City Council for their leadership in ending this discriminatory policing and urge them to override the Mayor’s
Make the Road NY member Johanna Vasquez, a Transgender Latina woman resident of Corona, Queens, said: “About two years ago I was arrested while waiting for a cab in a corner of Roosevelt Ave. The officers did not tell me why, but after my case was processed I found out it was on a prostitution charge, because they had found condoms in my purse. The combination of false profiling, the use of condoms as evidence and excessive police abuse is putting our communities in danger. Voting for the Community Safety Act is the right thing to do to protect people like me, who unjustly get criminalized because of who we are or how we look. We thank the Council Members who voted yes and encourage them to stay strong on their decision, in light of Mayor Bloomberg’s unfair veto.”
According to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2012, AVP found that in New York City in 2012 nearly 40 percent of survivors interacting with the NYPD reported police misconduct. Reports of police misconduct increased significantly from 8 in 2011 to 78 in 2012. The report also found that survivor reports of hostile attitudes from police doubled in 2012, with 43 reports, up from 21 in 2011.
“Stigma related to sexual orientation and gender identity continues to be a driving force of the HIV epidemic in New York City,” said Jason Cianciotto, Director of Public Policy at GMHC. “It is critical that police committed to protecting all New Yorkers stop harming them through profiling based on real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and HIV status.”
“On behalf of the young people we serve at HMI, we commend the New York City Council for taking on the challenge of police profiling as we all work together to create a safe environment for their future,” said Thomas Krever, Executive Director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute.
“Officers of the law and our elected officials have a responsibility to ensure all citizens, including those who are LGBTQ, can live safely in our communities without fear of harassment or violence by enacting and enforcing protections like these,” said GLAAD Acting President Dave Montez. “The time is now.”
“When it comes to the safety of our communities, we must do what’s right and fair with respect to the NYPD,” said John Hellman, Director of Advocacy at the Latino Commission on AIDS. “Profiling and discrimination must be addressed by this important legislation.”
A vote on the Mayor’s veto is expected in August of this year. For more information please click here.
- Intro 1080 (Profiling Ban) & Intro 1079 (Independent Oversight) Fact Sheet
- Intro 1080 (Profiling Ban) Myths & Facts
- NYPD Monitor Fact v Fiction (courtesy Brennan Center for Justice)
- Basic information on the full Community Safety Act package of legislation
The full statement and list of signatories is below.
STATEMENT FROM LGBTQ ORGANIZATIONS TO THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL:
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
Audre Lorde Project
Black and Pink
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Center on HIV Law and Policy
Community United Against Violence
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Gay Mens’ Health Crisis (GMHC)
Gay Straight Alliance Network
Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI)
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
Latino Commission on AIDS (LCOA)
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of New York
Make the Road New York
National Black Justice Coalition (NCBJ)
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP)
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP)
New York State LGBTQ Domestic Violence Network
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF)
Providence Youth Student Movement (PRYSM)
Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ)
Streetwise and Safe (SAS)
Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP)
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)