queer and trans liberation now!
The Lower East Side is a historic home for LGBTQ activism and culture. As an openly gay and nonbinary person, I am deeply committed to fighting for legal equality for my community, as well as fighting for policies that will improve the material conditions of LGBTQ people.
Legislation that empowers working class communities, like the New York Health Act and Good Cause Eviction, will be beneficial to the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community. In addition to these broader policies, specific actions must be taken to address the disparities and unique vulnerabilities that LGBTQ people face.
Equality Under the Law and Gender Affirmation
New York State’s constitution does not sufficiently protect many marginalized groups, including LGBT and gender non-conforming people. The failure to provide equality under the law and protection from discrimination is unacceptable. As a gay and non-binary person, this fight is personal for me.
I support the Equality Amendment, which would change the state constitution to ensure equal rights for all in New York regardless of sex, sexuality, gender identity and expression, race, and disability.
Incarcerated trans and non-binary people must be placed in the facilities that best align with their gender identity. I recognize that such a measure is not a replacement for decarceral policies that keep people out of prison to begin with.
I also support measures like the Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act, which would decriminalize the consensual trade of sex between adults. This law would protect sex workers, who are disproportionately LGBT, from police violence and harassment.
An estimated 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. There is an urgent need for supportive housing for LGBT youth. As a socialist, I believe housing is a human right. Homelessness is a policy choice, and the long-term project of ending homelessness will protect queer and trans youth.
LGBT people are, on paper, protected against housing discrimination in New York. However, such discrimination can be nearly impossible to prove. One of the reasons I support Good Cause Eviction legislation is because it would prevent landlords from evicting tenants or instituting outrageous rent hikes without reason. Landlords would no longer be able to discriminate without accountability.
All renters in New York will benefit from the protections this legislation provides, but for queer and trans people, and marginalized groups vulnerable to discrimination, Good Cause Eviction will ensure that our anti-discrimination laws are not just symbolic.
I also support the LGBT Long-term Care Residents Bill of Rights. LGBT elders are at higher risk of elder abuse and neglect compared to their straight and cisgender counterparts. They are also vulnerable to unique forms of mistreatment due to their identity. This law would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and HIV status in long-term care facilities.
As a gay and nonbinary person, and as a mental health social worker, I understand how important access to healthcare is for LGBT people. We need the New York Health Act to ensure that LGBT New Yorkers can access mental health care, gender affirming care, PrEP, HIV treatments, and all other healthcare needs without fearing affordability.
Having a universal, single-payer healthcare system in New York will not only improve everyone’s health, it will also help address the health disparities that disproportionately affect LGBT people. Until we pass the NYHA, I support measures to expand access to affordable healthcare, mental health services, and PrEP.
Everyone has a right to bodily autonomy. Intersex children are often subjected to medically unnecessary surgeries to force their bodies to fit into a binary model of sex and gender without regard for their gender identity or ability to consent. We must protect the bodily autonomy of intersex people by banning medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children who are too young to give informed consent.
I also support the FIRE HATE Act, which protects people who travel to New York to receive gender affirming or reproductive healthcare from legal action by their home state. Given the attacks on trans people and supportive parents of trans children, it is vital that New York State protects the bodily autonomy of those who are most vulnerable.
The Trevor Project found that in the past year, 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide and 14% had attempted suicide. Even before the pandemic compounded the existing youth mental health crisis, LGBTQ youth have disproportionately dealt with suicidality.
As a mental health social worker, I know the urgency this crisis requires, which is why I support the creation of a LGBT Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force.
The impact of school on young people cannot be overstated, which is why New York needs to take steps to ensure that our schools allow LGBT youth to flourish. The state legislature must act to ensure that New York school districts have policies and procedures in place to ensure the equitable treatment of trans and gender non-conforming students. I also support comprehensive sex eduction that is fully inclusive of LGBT students. This type of education can empower LGBT youth to better understand themselves and form healthy relationships in their life going forward.