Astraea Grantees Secure Victory in Welfare System

Published on Dec 23, 2009

Astraea grantee partners Audre Lorde Project, Queers for Economic Justice and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project working with Housing Works secured a crucial victory today in New York’s Human Resources Administration (HRA).  After six years of advocacy, the HRA has approved a new procedure to end discrimination and harassment of transgender and gender-non-conforming New Yorkers who utilize the welfare system.

USA- New York

Letter from the Activists:

Community Win for Welfare Justice!

Over the last six years as a community we have made our voices heard, culminating over the last two days in a fax and phone blast, and ending today with approval of a new procedure for serving Trans and Gender Non Conforming clients at New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA).  Trans and Gender Non Conforming communities, allies, friends and family have let the New York City Human Resources Administration know of our demands an end to transphobic discrimination and harassment in New York City’s Welfare system.  Supporters from across the country called and faxed HRA.

We just learned that after nearly six years of organizing by the community New York City’s HRA approved the new procedure for serving Trans and Gender Non Conforming clients.  This new procedure is a major step towards Welfare Justice for Trans and Gender Non Conforming communities in New York City.

As a result of the procedures approval we are calling an end to the call and faxes to HRA.

Thank you so much to everyone who called and faxed over the last few days – this win only happened after countless community members and supporters, over many years, made our voices heard!  We also want to thank HRA Commissioner Robert Doar, HRA Executive Deputy Commissioner Jane Corbett and HRA Director. Office of Refugee and Immigrant Affairs Kavita Pawria for being part of making this happen for our communities.

Look out for information about upcoming events in the New Year to celebrate and share more information about this win.  There is still lots to do, to get involved contact or 718-596-0342.

Thank you!

Audre Lorde Project/TransJustice (Astraea Grantee Partner)
Housing Works
Queers for Economic Justice (Astraea Grantee Partner)
Sylvia Rivera Law Project (Astraea Grantee Partner)

Campaign Background
Since 2005, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) communities in New York City have been urging the Human Resources Administration (HRA) to address the rampant Transphobia, discrimination, and harassment that Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people in New York City face when seeking to access welfare/public assistance.

In June of 2008, a week before the Fourth Annual Trans Day of Action (annual March organized by TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project) which was set to protest at HRA headquarters, HRA officials agreed to meet with TransJustice to hear community concerns.  After this first meeting with HRA in the Fall of 2008, TransJustice formed a committee of organizations including the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Housing Works, Queers for Economic Justice and others, to develop a  HRA procedure to address transphobic discrimination at HRA.  In May of 2009 after months of meeting with HRA the draft procedure was finalized and submitted to HRA for approval.  Over the last year TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Housing Works, and Queers for Economic Justice have been organizing for the procedures approval.