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Bloomberg veto of NYC DASA bill (GCN letter to the editor, 9.21.04)

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Gay City News

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Protecting Youth and Trans New Yorkers


September 21, 2004
To the Editor:

Nicholas Boston’s excellent report on the enactment of the Dignity in All Schools Act (“Council Overrides Very Glib Bloomberg,” September 16-22) quotes Mayor Michael Bloomberg referring to the Dignity for All Schools Act (DASA) as a “silly law” that “doesn’t make sense.”

The mayor’s comment and his veto of the bill demonstrate clearly that he does not understand the problem of bias harassment in New York City schools, to which transgendered and gender-variant youth are among the most vulnerable. Their need for protection from harassment, abuse, and violence in school is not at all “silly.” Rather, it is Bloomberg’s comment that is silly and his position on DASA that doesn’t make sense.

Bloomberg’s veto of DASA—following his veto of the Equal Benefits Bill and his administration’s stalling on adoption of guidelines for implementation of the transgender rights law enacted in April 2002—also calls into question his commitment to supporting full equality for LGBT people in all aspects of public policy and law.

The New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) worked on this legislation in coalition with a host of other organizations and the overwhelming vote by the City Council on September 9 to override the mayor’s shameful veto is testament to the hard work of DASA Coalition members, including PFLAG NYC, Coalition for Asian American Children & Families, the Bronx Lesbian & Gay Health Resource Consortium, Center Kids, the Empire State Pride Agenda, and many others. Councilmember Alan Gerson deserves commendation for his leadership on this landmark legislation, as does Speaker Gifford Miller.

NYAGRA will be working with other coalition member organizations on implementation and enforcement of the new law, which will be a challenge, given the Bloomberg administration’s hostility to DASA.

Pauline Park
Co-Chair NYAGRA

This letter to the editor originally appeared in the 23 September 2004 issue of Gay City News.


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