LGBT CAUCUS CALLS ON THE CITY TO REQUIRE GENDER PRONOUN OPTIONS ON CITY-AGENCY FORMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 10, 2017

Contact: John Blasco, jblasco@council.nyc.gov

 LGBT CAUCUS CALLS ON THE CITY TO REQUIRE GENDER PRONOUN OPTIONS ON CITY-AGENCY FORMS

 The LGBT Caucus introduced a bill that would require the City to include Gender Pronoun options on City-Agency documentation forms; including gender-neutral pronouns

C7FAALZW4AAZyw_.jpgNew York – On Wednesday, May 10th 2017, the LGBT Caucus, Chaired by Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, introduced a bill that would require agencies to provide training to agency staff regarding individuals’ gender pronouns and to require agencies to amend their official forms and databases to collect and retain gender pronoun information. Intro 1604, introduced by the 7 member-body, made its appearance at the Council Stated meeting on Wednesday and has come in time for Pride month in June where New Yorkers will celebrate the 48th annual New York City Pride celebration.

The Gender Pronoun Bill would require the Mayor’s Office of Operations to ensure that city agencies provide mandatory trainings to frontline staff members regarding the use of city residents’ gender pronouns when interacting with such residents. The training would consists of an overview of the need to address an individual by their gender pronoun; an explanation of each pronoun option required to be included on the form, and an explanation that residents shall be given the option of completing all paperwork in a private space.

If passed by the NYC Council and the Mayor, the official forms will include the following gender pronoun options: [1] he/him/his, [2] she/her/hers, [3] they/them/theirs, [4] ze/hir, [5] an option for individuals to write in gender pronouns not included on such forms and [6] additional terms as determined by the office of operations. The forms would also indicate that providing gender pronoun information is voluntary. All official forms that have New York State or Federal limits on them will not be impacted by this legislation.

“I am proud to introduce this piece of legislation with my brothers in the LGBT Caucus,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez, Chair of the LGBT Caucus. “The Human Rights Law states that individuals should be addressed by the gender pronoun that they have stated they identify with. If there is a human rights law that mandates this, then our official forms should reflect this basic human right. We are a City of diverse individuals and we must take every step in ensuring that our Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Gender Queer, and many others are respected.”

“To respect someone’s preferred gender pronoun is to respect their dignity as a human being,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “By directing city agencies to collect data on constituents’ gender pronoun usage, this common-sense legislation will help ensure that people interacting with agency staff are addressed and treated appropriately.  I am proud to work alongside LGBT Caucus Chairperson Rosie Mendez on this effort to make city services open and accessible to all New Yorkers.”

“Addressing a person with the correct gender pronoun is one of the most basic ways to show respect for their identity. Referring to someone with the wrong pronoun can make them feel disrespected, alienated, or dysphoric. City employees and data systems don’t always know someone’s correct gender pronoun by their name, appearance or a voice on the phone. With training and data guidelines, City agencies can help all residents feel respected for who they are and how they identify,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

“Amending training protocol and city forms will ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of their gender identity, are treated with dignity and respect. This is an essential step in recognizing and honoring that identity does not look or feel the same for all people. I applaud Councilwoman Mendez for introducing this legislation on behalf of the LGBT Caucus and look forward to helping push this in Council,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

“New York must preserve its place as a leading bastion of inclusivity,” said Council Member James Vacca. “As progress is made, we must make sure that the bureaucracy is accommodating to all communities. By amending forms and applications to include various gender pronouns, we are making a statement that New York is open to all.”

“When providing personal information on an official city form, it is a traumatic experience to feel forced to choose from a rigid and unrealistic set of options that don’t reflect the beautiful diversity of our city,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “As a proud openly gay elected official, I strongly support this bill that will require city agencies to train staff members on the appropriate and considerate use of gender pronouns and change official city forms to affirm our values of inclusion and respect. With this bill, the City of New York will send a strong message to all who live and work in our city: You can be your true self, and your government recognizes, respects, and values you.”

“This bill supports the basic respect and fundamental dignity that we owe all New York City residents,” said Jillian Weiss, Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc. “Addressing transgender people with the appropriate pronoun is the least we can do to say ‘You are part of our community, and we value you.’ Thank you to the New York City Council LGBT Caucus for extending a hand to transgender New Yorkers in this important way.”

“In a time when being able to honor one’s identity is more important than ever, we applaud the LGBT Caucus of the New York City Council for introducing important legislation that will allow our community members to do just that,” said Glennda Testone, Executive Director of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. “The Center, the City and many others have worked for years to make our home a place of equality and this legislation is another important step on that path. By pairing increased access to a wider variety of gender pronouns on official forms with cultural competency training for the employees tasked with the completion of these forms, the LGBT Caucus is making a commitment to ensuring that our community continues to feel supported and welcomed in the City we all call home.”

“The Sylvia Rivera Law Project applauds Council Member Mendez and the LGBT Caucus in their efforts to recognize the gender identities and expressions of trans, gender non-conforming, and intersex communities. Our clients and members often experience discrimination at government agencies – we hope that this change is one of many steps towards meeting the demands of our communities,” said Ethan Lin, Director of Grassroots Fundraising & Communications.

“We thank the LGBT Caucus for listening to the Transgender community and drafting legislation requiring city agencies to include Preferred Gender Pronouns (PGP) on City forms,” said Sean Coleman, Executive Director, Destination Tomorrow. “By allowing PGP we will finally be able to accurately account for the hundreds of thousands Trans and Gender non-conforming (TGNC) New Yorkers. With this data, we will be able to provide accurate numbers detailing how large our community is, when requesting adequate funding to provide expanded services and programs to members of the TGNC community, a community in need of support equal to that of its Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual counterparts.

“The New York City Anti-Violence Project commends the LGBT Caucus of the NYC Council for introducing The Gender Pronoun Bill this week. Respecting people’s pronouns is essential to their safety, self-determination, and to ensuring that LGBTQ New Yorkers are treated with the dignity that we all deserve,” said Beverly Tillery, Executive Director, New York City Anti-Violence Project.

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District 2 Updates – May 2017

In the News

Lillian Wald Tenant Association President Debrella Nesbitt

Last month we learned of the passing of Debrella Nesbitt, TA President for Lillian Wald Houses. We are saddened to hear about the loss of Debrella, a great leader in the Lower East Side community.

“My sincere condolences for the loss of the amazing woman and tenant advocate Debrella Nesbitt. Debrella was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and leader in my community. She was a dedicated union member and brought her organizing skills and activism to her role as President of Lillian Wald Houses Tenant Association. Debrella cared about every one of her fellow tenants and her smile could change the dynamics of any room. She was kind, fierce and the NYCHA community will have to carry the torch for change in her absence. I am proud to have known Debrella and will not forget her contribution to Lillian Wald Houses and the Lower East Side community, as well as, her accomplishments city-wide. Debrella will be missed. May she rest in peace.” – Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, District 2

Rent Guidelines Board Public Hearing Testimony
On Tuesday, April 25, 2017, the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) held a preliminary vote on whether to raise, rollback or freeze rents on rent stabilized housing. Rosie provided testimony urging the RGB to institute another rent freeze. Please see her testimony attached. Testimony for the Rent Guidelines Board Public Hearing

Mount Sinai-Beth Israel Transformation Forum
On April 6th, 2017, Rosie attended the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Transformation Forum. She joined other elected leaders, community leaders, and concerned residents in understanding the proposed changes, as well as the impact. Mount Sinai-Beth Israel is constructing a brand new inpatient hospital two blocks south from the existing hospital, while downsizing to approximately 220 beds in its Downtown network and creating a state-of-the-art emergency room. The proposed transformation raises important questions about the current and future access to long and short-term healthcare in hospitals. Rosie is very concerned about the inflexible position of the Hospital directives against the design and implementation of a community survey that would provide necessary and reliable information to secure a transformation that will prioritize the healthcare needs of our communities in correlation to other factors such as job preservation, land use and support services for our most vulnerable citizens.

Developer Withdraws Variance Application at the 14th Street Post Office Site
The application for a zoning variance at the 14th Street Post Office site was withdrawn by the developer just prior to the item being called at the Board of Standard and Appeals (“BSA”) on March 28th. The current zoning regulations permits an 8 story building with setbacks and a height cap of 80 feet to be built as of right. However, the developer was hoping to obtain a variance to build a 12 story building with a height of 124 feet with no setbacks claiming “undue financial hardship” for “unique circumstances” as a result of the water table that runs underneath. The developer alleged that a bigger building would be necessary to make this building financial feasible since additional expenditures were necessary to address issues caused by the water table during the excavation. However, the water table is common knowledge and runs throughout much of the Lower East Side and East Village. Rosie joined community residents and advocates in providing written and oral testimony in the January 24th hearing that refuted the developer’s arguments of financial and unforeseen hardships. Moreover, Rosie’s testimony pointed out that there are neighboring sites in a one-to-two block radius currently under construction and those developers have not sought variances based on a financial hardship caused by building on land with a water table creating.

At the January 24th hearing, the BSA Commissioners had raised a lot of questions pertaining to the financial hardship claim and the Federal Income Tax Credits that the developer was receiving and that the developer had not adequately made a convincing case for financial hardship. The case was adjourned until March 28th to allow the developer an opportunity to answer all of the Commissioners questions. The developer responded by modifying the application for a 9 story building without setbacks, but did not provide any convincing answers in the written response to address the financial hardship issues and then withdraw the application from the calendar that morning. This is a huge victory for the community that was able to stop what would have been a huge out of scale building. She is grateful for all the work that GVSHP did in bringing this issue to everyone’s attention.

5th Avenue Protected Bike Lane and Flatiron Shared Street
On March 27, 2016, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) gave a presentation for the 5th Avenue Protected Bicycle Lane at the Community Board 5 Transportation and Environment Committee meeting. The plan includes upgrading bicycle lanes on 5th Avenue from 23rd Street to 8th Street. Pedestrian islands will be painted and there will be parking-protected bicycle lanes. To view this presentation and for more information, please visit the following website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/5th-ave-bike-lane-mar2017.pdf.

DOT also presented on their plan for shared streets on Broadway between West 24th Street and West 25th Street. The objectives for DOT regarding this project are to enhance pedestrian safety and circulation, maintain vehicular access and circulation, and enhance public space. To view this presentation, please visit this website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/flatiron-shared-street-mar2017.pdf.

L Train Shutdown
The MTA voted to approve a $477M contract for repairs to the L Train line. Additionally, it announced that the work currently proposed that will necessitate shutting down the L train line will now require less time to complete—15 months as opposed to the 18 months originally proposed in a previous plan. The work will begin in April 2019. Rosie, along with her city, state, and federal colleagues will continue to monitor the timeline and proposed work to ensure that all updates are communicated to constituents in a timely manner.

La Lucha Continua The Struggle Continues: 1985 & 2017

Exhibition Details:

Title: La Lucha Continua The Struggle Continues: 1985 & 2017

Exhibition Dates: April 8 – June 30 , 2017
Viewing Hours:
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Noon to 6:00 pm
and by appointment.

Organizer:
Artmakers Inc.
For more info and media queries: Jane Weissman, ArtmakersNYC@aol.com, (212) 989-3006

Host Venue:
Loisaida Inc. Center
(646) 726-4715

710 East 9th Street, Lower East Side
New York, NY 10009 United States
+ Google Map
 
Email: info@loisaida.org
 
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