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"It’s bad public health, it’s bad social policy." — Cyndee Clay, exec. director of HIPS

An excerpt of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance testimony on making the Protitution Free Zones Permanent:

The Metropolitan Police Department’s current use of Prostitution Free Zones (or PFZs) facilitates discriminatory police profiling of transgender people. Making PFZs permanent, as this bill would do, would exacerbate the problem. It would also amount to doubling down on a constitutionally questionable practice.

“‘It’s bad public health, it’s bad social policy,’ says [Cyndee] Clay. ‘It’s not even effective judicial policy because we’re not giving people the tools that they need to change their life or to make a change. We’re just re-incarcerating the same people over and over again for the same thing.’ …

"HIPS keeps track of every sex worker it encounters, and the group is seeing roughly the same number of sex workers on the streets now as there was a decade ago. The difference is now they’re more likely to get a criminal record and more likely to be working in a violent area. The sex workers are more isolated and more at risk. But they’re less visible.”

Councilmember Alexander responded to David Schultz, the WAMU reporter, in an exchange on Twitter on January 17. She wrote, “Prostitution is illegal and our residents as well as PG are fed up!” Jason Terry of DC Trans Coalition replied, “I appreciate your ire, but why not tackle the roots of injustice instead the symptoms?” Councilmember Alexander replied, “I’m supportive of that too, but how do you answer my communities’ frustration? Come with me to Eastern Ave.”

We have been to Eastern Avenue. Last July, many of us had occasion to visit that neighborhood to attend a vigil in memory of Lashai Mclean, a transgender woman who was murdered on the 6100 block of Dix Street NE. Like Jason Terry, I appreciate Councilmember Alexander’s frustration. Like him, I think we need to respond to that frustration with real solutions rather than merely chasing sex workers to different streetcorners.

PFZ Hearing Update and THANK YOU<3 <3

Hey folx, 

So, the hearing for Bill 19-567: The Prostitution Free Zone Amendement Act (to make the PFZ’s permanent), was yesterday. And it went so great! We had the room stacked with people testifying against the amendment. There were only three or four folks testifying in favor, and more then ten against! It was a triumphant moment, and everyone made very compelling arguments against making the PFZ’s permanent. 

But the most surprising turn of events was when assistant police chief Peter Newsham came up to the podium to testify against the amendment, saying that “we cannot arrest our way out of the……..problem,” and that “at the end of the day, there’s got to be a better approach.”

The committee will make a decison in a few weeks, and we will be sure to update you as things develop. In the meantime, we will be publishing the testimonies from the hearing on this blog, as we think they are informative, inspiring, and useful in developing nuanced arguments about gentrification, community space, sex worker and lgbtq rights, and grassroots organizing.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you 

To everyone that signed the petition, reblogged, posted it on facebook, twitter, etc, called their councilmember, or submitted testimony THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR ANONYMOUS LITTLE HEARTS. WE LOVE YOU, AND WE LOVE DC!!!!

Below some links to news coverage of the hearing:

Washpo:#mce_temp_url#

WAMU:#mce_temp_url#

DCist:#mce_temp_url#

And keep signing the petition!!! Bug your friends!!!!

<3 <3


Working to eliminate the "Prostitution Free Zones," or "PFZ's" in Washtington DC