NYC Public Advocate: Urgent Action Needed to Address Anti-Trans Violence

Five transgender persons have been killed nationally in just the last three weeks, and at least 32 have lost their lives
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Wednesday, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams called for a series of urgent actions and initiatives to combat the rise of violence targeting transgender individuals, which he deemed a state of crisis.

Five transgender persons have been killed nationally in just the last three weeks, and at least 32 have lost their lives this year so far, more than any other year recorded. At least two trans women have been murdered in New York City alone since the beginning of the year, several have been brutally attacked, and there was a recent mural defacement in the Bronx.

The Public Advocate called on the Governor, Mayor, and all elected leaders in New York to recognize and respond to the scope and urgency of this tragedy.

"We are in a state of crisis - we need to meet it with urgency, clarity, and resolve," said Public Advocate Williams. "Trans women, particularly trans women of more color, are being killed with impunity, and it is past time to meet that emergency with real change that can end this epidemic of violence. Today, I am calling upon the Governor to acknowledge anti-trans violence as a state of crisis, and encourage the Mayor and all of my colleagues in government to join me and the countless advocates who have joined us today in developing comprehensive plans that put an end to anti-trans violence once and for all."

The Public Advocate was joined by a broad coalition of advocates representing the TGNCNBI community from across the city to condemn violence against transgender individuals and demand critical, tangible action from Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio to provide recognition of and relief from this crisis. The group also held a moment of silence in honor of lives lost, most recently including Brooklyn DeShauna Smith of Louisiana, who lost their life last week, and Sara Blackwood of Indiana, who was reportedly killed on National Coming Out Day.

During the press conference, Public Advocate Williams announced immediate legislative efforts his office is pursuing to advance protections and programs for the transgender community in New York City. These include several pieces of legislation that he plans to introduce in the New York City Council on Thursday. The first would require the city to report on training for medical care for transgender and gender non-conforming persons- including the scope of the training both in content and in number of personnel trained. The second would require that DOHMH distribute signage on transgender patient rights and available services to every hospital in the City.

Public Advocate Williams also called for the repeal of the Walking While Trans Ban on the state level, and for city leadership to recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. He has previously advocated for funding to support TGNC housing and economic empowerment, including through calling on Mayor de Blasio to fulfill his 2017 promise to provide housing vouchers for nearly 4,600 homeless youth - 40% of our city's homeless youth population is LGBTQ youth under the age of 25, in which trans youth are disproportionately represented. The Public Advocate's office, he also announced, is exploring legislation to establish a new TGNCNBI Community Empowerment Program, establish the NYC Unity Project which was cut during the most recent budget, and create an initiative to grow and support TGNCNBI Businesses.

The Public Advocate also previewed the launch of a series of citywide public awareness and engagement events leading up to Trans Day of Remembrance on November 20. In collaboration with community organizations and directly impacted individuals, the office will co-host a five-part series of virtual events aimed at education and advocacy around resources needed within the TGNCNBI community to combat the epidemic of violence.

For more information on the forthcoming programs, set to being in late October, follow @nycpa on Twitter, Facebook.com/NYCPublicAdvocate, and check for upcoming events at advocate.nyc.gov. For further information on the organizations joining today's press conference with the Public Advocate, visit the websites of the NYC Anti-Violence Project, the Audre Lorde Project, Gays and Lesbians Living In a Transgender Society, Destination Tomorrow, the Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform, The Center, Make the Road NY, the Caribbean Equality Project, and Bridges 4 Life.

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