Atlanta banishment legislation dropped; task force to study prostitution issues

For the past month, activists, including LGBT activists and organizations, have decried the proposed legislation. At today’s Public Safety Committee work session, speakers lined up to oppose the measure.

The only person who spoke in favor of the ordinance at today’s work session was Peggy Denby, president of the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance. She spoke in particular about her problem with “the men” prostitutes.

The MPSA is a strong supporter of the proposed legislation and includes a link on its website about the issue of prostitution (with photo gallery).

Speakers against the proposed ordinance included Dee Dee Chamblee, a longtime transgender activist and founder of La Gender, and Paulina Helm-Hernandez, co-director of Southerners on New Ground, an LGBT organization serving those in the rural South.

Cheryl Courtney-Evans, another transgender activist and founder of Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth, submitted a letter to the committee urging members to not support the ordinance.

“The transgender community is already a marginalized one in the City of Atlanta. We have faced discrimination and been shut out of housing and employment opportunities, as well as fallen victim to profiling, ‘revolving door justice’ and jailing around a ‘prostitution problem,”” Evans said.

“Now Atlanta Chief of Police Turner has allowed the vociferous complaints of a relatively few (and perhaps well-connected) Midtown residents convince him to develop this ordinance that will not solve this problem, but exacerbate it,” she added.

Atlanta COO Duriya Farooqui announced the formation of a task force at today’s work session. She said she hopes a working group is up and running in as soon as two weeks. It’s not yet known who will serve on the panel.

Carlos Campos, spokesperson for the APD, said Chief Turner “is pleased that APD will have representation on the task force and looks forward to finding a solution to this critical issue that has a positive outcome for all involved.”

Photo: Atlanta Police Chief George Turner’s proposed ‘banishment ordinance’ as a way to deal with prostitution was tabled by the city’s Public Safety Committee in a work session today. A task force to study how to better deal with prostitution is instead being formed. (File photo)