Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Drag Show Protest Press Release

The New York Transgender Rights Organization




White Plains, New York, June 13, 2008 – The New York Transgender Rights Organization (NYTRO) protests the June 12, 2008 drag show organized by County legislator Bernice Spreckman, in which County legislators Ken Jenkins, Vito Pinto, and perhaps others, appeared in a mockery of transgender people to the laughs of an audience of seniors.
“The Westchester County legislature has failed for nearly eight years to amend the county human rights law to explicitly protect transgender people,” said Joann Prinzivalli, the state director of NYTRO and a White Plains resident. “It is shocking to see county legislators who have dragged their feet on this vital issue doing the equivalent of a KKK blackface show to mock my people.”

In 1999, former county legislators George Latimer and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, both now in the state legislature, promised to rectify the deficiency in the third draft of the original county human rights law enacted in December 1999. At the time, the language that would have protected transgender people was dropped from the bill as a compromise, according to Latimer, because this was requested by the New York Catholic Archdiocese Office of the Family. A bill to rectify the situation was actually introduced in 2005 by County legislator Lois Bronz, but went nowhere in committee.

A poll done by Global Strategy Group in February 2008 shows that statewide public support for legal protection of transgender people stands at 78% of registered voters. Last week, the New York State Assembly passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) by a vote of 108-33, with better than a two-thirds majority. Prinzivalli said “The public support is out there. The time has come for county government to get there ahead of the curve.”

The New York Transgender Rights Organizartion (NYTRO) is an unincorporated association with chapters around New York State. The organization is dedicated to advance the recognition of human rights of transgender and gender variant people, who are often subjected to the worst discrimination in employment, housing, insurance, medical care and public accommodations.

NYTRO State Director Joann Prinzivalli plans an unscheduled press conference at the steps to the (presently closed) main entrance to the Michaelian County Office on Martine Avenue in White Plains at 1:30 PM today, June 13, 2008.

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