January 27, 2012 at 9:38 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Trans Coalition, GLAA oppose ‘prostitution free zones’ bill
Transgender day of action, gay news, gay politics dc

Marchers protest 'Prostitution Free Zones' on the Transgender Day of Action. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Trans Coalition and the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance are calling on the D.C. City Council to defeat a bill calling for giving the city’s police chief authority to establish permanent “prostitution free zones.”

The two groups have joined civil liberates advocates in charging that a 2005 law creating the zones has resulted in improper targeting of transgender women and others for prostitution arrests. The law allows police to designate any public area a “prostitution free zone” for up to 20 days, allowing police to more aggressively crack down on prostitution in those areas.

The bill currently under consideration, the Prostitution Free Zone Amendment Act of 2012, would make such zones permanent.

“These policies have done little to eradicate prostitution but have succeeded in further marginalizing sex workers, low income people of color, transgender people, lesbians, gays and the homeless,” a statement issued by transgender advocates says.

“We do not need more policy that criminalizes people in our community,” the statement says. “D.C. residents demand that the D.C. Council find solutions to city issues that don’t involve arresting and locking people up because they are homeless, transgendered, or look like they are engaging in sex work.”

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), the lead sponsor of the bill, has said street prostitution has been an ongoing problem in her ward and in other parts of the city and her legislation would help police control the problem.

Alexander’s bill was scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday before the Council’s Judiciary Committee, where GLAA and D.C. Trans Coalition officials were expected to testify against it.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • laurelboy2

    This just proves the point that I’ve been making for years: that, by and large, transgendered folks rely on the sex trade to live, otherwise why would they be opposed to prostitution-free zones?? How utterly sad. and to think that I get disparaging comments from transgenders and their supporters (on forums such as this) when I assert this point. They don’t need a knife on a operating table; rather, they desperately need psychological/psychiatric counseling.

  • Amber Thompson

    “”“prostitution free zones.””

    Read it, as transgender free zones.

  • Updater

    After browsing some archives and coming across this narrow minded B.S. from “laurelboy2” I can only say he sounds like a cop or right-wing bigot. A majority of transgender women don’t engage in sex work to sustain themselves. The risks involved are far too great.

    For the record, people like “laurelboy2” are the ones that need psychopharmachologists to help their neurochemical imbalances. Trans-people for the most part, have spent a great deal of time coming to terms with themselves! We are very well balanced.

  • Sarah

    Check out this article covering the recent global situation of trying to find the best course of action to fairly solve prostitution’s issues with a focus on US bills. https://www.billtrack50.com/blog/civil-rights/prostitution-modern-day-slavery/

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