NYAGRA was founded to advocate for freedom of gender identity and expression for all. Our founding meeting took place on 30 June 1998, and our concern was to secure the full inclusion of all transsexual, transgendered, and gender variant people in discrimination and hate crimes law at the state and local level in New York. We first approached the Empire State Pride Agenda in November 1998, and from those discussions, a campaign for a local transgender rights bill was conceived. NYAGRA convened the first meeting of the legislative work group in October 1999, which included representatives from NYAGRA and the Pride Agenda as well as the six original primary sponsors of the bill (Int. No. 754, later re-introduced as Int. No. 24). The legislative work group, coordinated by Pauline Park, led the successful campaign for passage of the bill, NYAGRA’s greatest legislative success to date.
Mayor signs transgender rights bill into law
Councilmember Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) (center) and Pauline Park (right) at the bill signing ceremony at City Hall (4.30.2002) at which the mayor signed Int. No. 24 into law. Council Member Perkins was the lead sponsor of the transgender rights bill, which amended the New York City human rights ordinance to include gender identity and expression in the definition of gender, thereby securing the full inclusion of transsexual, transgendered, and gender-variant people in City human rights law.
Pauline Park, grand marshal of the 2005 New York City Pride March
Heritage of Pride named NYAGRA’s Pauline Park as grand marshal for the 2005 NYC Pride March, along with author Andrew Tobias & the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Pauline was the first openly transgendered grand marshal in the history of the event, the country’s oldest and largest pride parade. Members of NYAGRA, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund & the Transgender Health Initiative of New York organized a joint contingent to march in the parade, which took place on June 26 of that year.