Trans Attorney to Lead LGBTQ Legal Professional Group Kristen Prata Browde is new board president at New York’s LeGaL
mendous value — particularly at a time when we are facing an attempt by the federal government to undo the legal progress we have secured. Together, we will fight for a New York that protects vulnerable and marginalized people.” Whether it is on the issue of school students accessing restrooms consistent with their gen-
der identity or transgender service members being able to serve openly in the military, the Trump administration has taken particular aim at the transgender community, undoing advances made in the later years of President Barack Obama’s administration. In October, news emerged that the US Department of Health and Services is considering
the adoption of a regulatory definition of “sex” as immutable and determined at birth, in a clear effort to deny transgender Americans access to services appropriate to their lives. “We have been battling nonstop to limit the damage to the cause of equality resulting from the current administration in Washington,” Browde said. “LeGaL is vital to that work, as is our collective visibility, and I’m unequivocally committed to carrying forth our message at every level. Furthering the outreach of LeGaL to the trans community and its vibrant and increasingly out and active bar is important work, especially given the current situation.” Her predecessor as board chair, Gennaro Savastano, said, “Kristen is exactly what we need. She is a devoted advocate and a force to be reckoned with. I’m inspired by her vision, and am confident that her many talents will nurture and grow our organization and community.” To learn more about LeGaL and its work, visit lgbtbarny.org.
Cuomo’s endorsement last month, will depend, Hoylman said, on the establishment of a regulatory regime and will also likely face questions, especially from suburban legislators, about the risks of driving under the influence. Hoylman is hopeful the Legislature will approve a bold congestion pricing plan, though he acknowledged that even some city legislators represent districts without a single subway station, complicating agreement on the details of any such scheme, especially regarding the use of the revenues it generates. And, he noted, estimates on what congestion pricing can generate range from $6 to $8 billion, while Andy Byford, president of the New York City Transit Authority, estimates that the subways and buses need a $40 billion investment. “Where’s the money going to come from?,” Hoylman said. “It’s not going to come off the backs of riders, if I can help it.”
Beyond GENDA and the conversion therapy ban, the new Judiciary chair has a host of other LGBTQfocused concerns. On health care, he wants to see wider available of PrEP and PEP — first, through a mandate that they be covered in all insurance plans, and later by being made available free of cost — a restoration of funding for the statewide network of LGBTQ-specific health and human services from the current level of $4.4 million to at least the pre-2008 recession level of $9 million, and greater resources for gender transition care and HIV and hepatitis C treatment in the state’s prisons. Hoylman also supports a strengthening of the anti-bullying Dignity for All Students Act, greater funding for homeless youth and the providers who serve them, an LGBTQ bill of rights for seniors in long-term care facilities, a nonbinary gender option on driver’s licenses, a ban on “gay panic” and
“trans panic” defenses in violent crime cases, and a restoration of the 53 state benefits currently denied former military service members discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. One other measure close to Hoylman’s heart is reform of gestational surrogacy laws that largely ban would-be parents from contracting with surrogates. He and his husband, David Sigal, were forced to work with surrogates out of state to parent their two daughters, and Hoylman said that opening up surrogacy options has a lot of support, especially among newer members. Still, he conceded more education is needed, particularly among officials “who have never thought about it.” His aim is to protect all parties in a surrogacy contract, ensuring each has legal representation and that the woman acting as surrogate has sole and absolute control over all decisions related to her health.
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
risten Prata Browde, a solo practitioner who specializes in family law and divorce, has been elected the board chair of LeGaL, the LGBT Bar of New York. Founded in 1978 by Arthur S. Leonard — now a New York Law School professor and Gay City News’ legal correspondent — LeGaL is among the nation’s oldest and largest bar associations in the LGBTQ legal community. Serving the New York metropolitan area, the group works to ensure the full equality of the LGBTQ community and promote the expertise of attorneys from the community. In a written statement, Eric Lesh, the group’s executive director, said, “I am so excited to work with Kristen to ensure that LeGaL serves the community by helping LGBTQ New Yorkers access the rights and resources they desperately need. Kristen’s fierce advocacy on behalf of the transgender people and the entire LGBT community is a tre-
➤ HOYLMAN, from p.4 cation, and hearings are needed — particularly since the issue has never received formal Senate investigation in the past. A favorable review of the legislation by the RAND Corporation last year, he said, addresses concerns some legislators and others have about cost, but Hoylman is not certain action can be completed in this session. Still, he said, a single-payer approach is not a question of “if, it’s when.” Hoylman is confident that after the budget, due by April 1, is enacted, the Legislature can act to not only renew rent stabilization laws, but to reverse the trend of recent years in which, according to a study by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, more than 400,000 units of affordable housing were lost between 2000 and 2012. Marijuana legalization, now squarely on the agenda given Governor Andrew GayCityNews.nyc | January 17 - January 30, 2019
DON POLL ARD/ COURTESY OF LEGAL
Attorney Kristen Prata Browde, the new board chair at LeGaL, at a 2017 Pride Sunday celebration with Governor Andrew Cuomo.
January 17, 2019