Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre Helps Repeal ‘Walking While Trans’ Loitering Law

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights) announced that she co-sponsored and helped pass legislation to repeal an anti-loitering statute from the New York penal code, commonly known as the “Walking While Trans” law (A.3355).

“Repealing this discriminatory law helps protect women, especially transgender women of color, from being unfairly targeted for how they look or dress,” Jean-Pierre said. “Women have been arrested for simply walking home, talking with friends or even standing outside their home under this vague statute. By repealing the ‘Walking While Trans’ ban, we can help ensure all New Yorkers are treated equally and fairly by the criminal justice system.”

The legislation repeals Section 240.37 of the penal code, which criminalizes loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution offense. It’s important to note that repealing this statute does not legalize prostitution or hinder law enforcement efforts to combat human trafficking. Key law enforcement organizations even support the repeal, including the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY).

According to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, 80% of people arrested under this law were women. Of those arrested, 49% were Black women and 42% were Latina.[1] While statistics are difficult to obtain on how many transgender women are unfairly targeted under this outdated law, several trans women have shared the harassment and humiliation they’ve suffered from law enforcement.[2]