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Friday, 8 April 2005

I'm forwarding a message about the first public hearing on Int. No. 512, which will take
place tomorrow (Friday, 4.8.05) morning at City Hall in Manhattan.  While there is nothing
transgender-specific  in the text of the bill, the New York City Human Rights Initiative
would enhance the ability of City agencies to address discrimination, especially
discrimination based on gender or race.

The lead sponsor of the bill, Council Member Bill Perkins, was also the lead sponsor of Int.
No. 24, the transgender rights bill passed by the Council in April 2002, and Int. No. 512
has attracted support from a large number of Council members, including most of the
Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.

NYAGRA has endorsed this legislation & is a founding member of the coalition supporting
it because we believe that it is important for the City of New York to take an active role in
addressing discrimination across the board, and Int. No. 512 would create a structure for
preventive action by city agencies as well as for enhancing participation in the process by
affected communities.  As an organization whose board is half people of color, we also
believe that it is important to address multiple oppressions & to work in broad-based
coalitions such as the one that has formed to advance this legislation. 

I will be testifying on behalf of NYAGRA at the hearing, and I would encourage anyone who
is able to join me to attend the hearing & the press conference at City Hall tomorrow.

Pauline Park
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)
24 W. 25th St., 9th floor
New York, NY 10010
(212) 675-3288, ext. 338



that uses HUMAN RIGHTS
(go to:

(Government Operations Audit Law)

FRIDAY APRIL 8, 2005, 10am-1pm
New York City Hall
Council Chambers

 (JMZ/4,5,6 to Bklyn Bridge/City Hall; R,W to City Hall)

The first hearing for ground-breaking local human rights legislation developed by the NYC
HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE will be held on Friday April 8 at 10am, in the main Council
Chambers at New York City Hall.

Introduced by Councilmember Bill Perkins, INTRO 512 -- the Human Rights in Government
Operations Audit Law (HUMAN RIGHTS GOAL) takes a unique preventive and participatory
approach to identifying and eliminating discriminatory policies before they result in
harmful outcomes. Too many individuals and groups in New York City have had to resort
to costly and time-consuming litigation to get their grievances addressed--and even if
they are successful, the solutions are often limited in scope. Human Rights GOAL tackles
problems collaboratively and head-on, resulting in greater efficiency, more comprehensive
solutions, better services for everyone, and increased savings over time.

The hearing will provide an exciting opportunity to witness democracy in action, learn why
good governance is contingent upon core human rights and anti-discrimination principles,
and hear some of our city's most eloquent scholars, politicians and social justice advocates
make the case for why human rights are as important, relevant and necessary in New York
City as they are in Baghdad, Kabul and Beijing.


* JOIN US AT THE HEARING, and bring along colleagues, co-workers, students, family and
* POST THIS MESSAGE to your listservs (apologies in advance for cross-postings)
* GO TO our brand new website at WWW.NYCHRI.ORG and SEND AN E-CARD OR LETTER TO
YOUR CITY COUNCILMEMBER, or sign your organization up as an endorser

Thanks in advance for helping us show our local elected officials that New Yorkers care
about their human rights and those of their neighbors!


It seems like every day brings another terrible story -- and another lawsuit against the

- Homeless families forced to live in squalid apartments whose negligent owners are paid
above-market rates with city dollars
- Children removed from their homes and placed in foster care because their mothers
have been abused by a partner or spouse
- Men of color and women of every race struggling to join a firefighting force that is 97%
white and more than 99% male
- Women sexually harassed at municipal jobs they are required to perform in exchange for
public benefits, but unprotected by existing labor laws because the City refuses to call
them "workers"

HUMAN RIGHTS GOAL: Solutions not lawsuits!

HUMAN RIGHTS GOAL uses pro-active measures to eliminate discrimination in city
employment, service delivery and budget allocations by incorporating standards and tools
from the universal human rights system into day-to-day city operations.  Drawing from
broad human rights principles, as well as from the two key international human rights
treaties that address gender and race discrimination, CEDAW and CERD respectively, the
legislation enables the city to tackle harmful policies head-on by requiring city agencies to
conduct audits to identify -- and then develop and implement action plans to eliminate --
gender, race and other forms of discrimination. The entire process is monitored by a task
force that is created by the legislation. Both the task force, and an advisory committee that
helps the agencies fulfill their requirements, are comprised of city personnel, advocates,
community members and other stakeholders. A similar and successful law was adopted in
San Francisco in April of 1998, and other cities are following suit.

NYC GOAL: Human rights preventing wrongs!

The New York City Human Rights Initiative is a broad coalition of local, national, and
international groups based in New York City and coordinated by the Women of Color Policy
Network, New York Civil Liberties Union, Legal Momentum, Human Rights Project of the
Urban Justice Center, Amnesty International USA, and the American Civil Liberties Union.


Support Intro 512 -- HUMAN RIGHTS GOAL: Accountability, Transparency, Participation

Contact NYCHRI at:  646-602-5628/9 or, or visit

Posted by www.nyagra at 1:38 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 8 April 2005 1:40 AM EDT
Saturday, 2 April 2005
Dear NYAGRA members & supporters
Dear NYAGRA members & supporters,

Saturday's New York Times carries an article on the settlement in the discrimination cases
that Justine Nicholas & I brought against Advantage Security for different incidents of
discrimination by the same firm.

The one thing that I said to the Times reporter that didn't get into his story (probably
because of space limitations) that I thought was important to mention was that the intake
attorney at the NYC Commission on Human Rights considered my case on its merits
without knowing that I was an activist or knowing anything about my role in the passage
of Int. No. 24 (the NYC transgender rights bill enacted into law in April 2002).

Pauline Park
New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)
24 W. 25th St., 9th floor
New York, NY 10010
(212) 675-3288, ext. 338


Transgender Group Reaches Agreement on Restrooms
By Nicholas Confessore
New York Times
April 2, 2005

When Pauline Park watched Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sign an amendment toughening
the city's anti-discrimination laws two years ago, she never expected to become
one of its first beneficiaries.

But yesterday, a complaint filed by Ms. Park - a co-chairwoman of the New York
Association for Gender Rights Advocacy, which helped lobby for the amendment to the
New York City Human Rights Law - became part of the first settlement issued under it. The
amendment forbids discrimination based on sexual identity whether or not it differs
from a person's biological sex.

The settlement, administered by the city's Commission on Human Rights, found that
people working for Advantage Security, a New York security guard company, discriminated
against Ms. Park when they demanded to see her identification after she used a women's
restroom at the Manhattan Mall in Herald Square last April.

She said that she had been having lunch with friends and was "taken aback"
when five guards - four men and a woman - stopped her after she used the restroom
a second time that day. The first time occurred without incident, she said.

"They encircled me in a very menacing and hostile stance," Ms. Park said.

"The female security guard demanded to know, 'Are you a man or a woman?' "
Ms. Park said. "I said to her that I identify as a woman. And she said, 'One
of my colleagues thought you were a man.' "

The settlement also covered a second incident involving the same company at a different

Last March, an Advantage Security guard asked Justine Nicholas for identification
after she came out of a women's restroom in a Manhattan office building where she
was taking the Graduate Record Examination.

Like Ms. Park, Ms. Nicholas was born male but identifies herself and lives as a

Under the terms of the settlement, Advantage Security will adopt and enforce a policy
allowing people to use bathrooms "consistent with their gender identity,"
said Michael D. Silverman, executive director and general counsel for the Transgender
Legal Defense and Education Fund, which represented the two complainants before
the commission. The company will also pay $2,500 to each complainant.

Ms. Park said she was pleased with the settlement.

In a statement released by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, Ms.
Nicholas said that she had been "humiliated" by the incident and that
the case would "increase the public's awareness of transgender people's needs."

Officials at Advantage Security did not return several telephone calls seeking comment.

The commission's chairwoman, Patricia L. Gatling, said that the settlement "sends
a message that discrimination in any form will not be tolerated in our city."


photo caption:

Pauline Park, a co-chairwoman of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy,
at the Manhattan Mall, Herald Square, Friday.

photo credit:

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Posted by www.nyagra at 12:38 PM EST

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