Assemblymember Kelles Statement On ‘Walking While Trans’ Bill

I support the New York Legislature’s recent actions to pass A.3355, commonly known as the “Walking While Trans bill.”

The piece of legislation would repeal the Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution law, Penal Law Section 240.37, which was enacted in 1976. This law gives police the authority to arrest anyone “loitering for the purpose of prostitution.”

The bill inevitably encourages police profiling based on physical appearance, gender orientation, and general stereotypes about prostitutes. In particular, many transgender people have been arrested under Section 240.37 despite not loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

In a recent memo of support for the Legislature’s efforts to repeal the statute, the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York wrote, "Over time, this statute has come to be used in ways that wrongfully profile people and even lead to their arrest based on nothing more than gender expression or appearance."

I support A.3355 and the repeal of the Purpose of Prostitution law.