Here is a vignette from March 2013: A 24-year-old gay man named Yhatzine Lafontain is leaving a restaurant late at night with a friend on Roosevelt Avenue and 95th Street in Queens. Both are dressed as women, Mr. Lafontain in a jacket, short dress and heels. Exchanging goodbyes outside, they are approached by a man who tells them they look good.
In Mr. Lafontain’s account, they chatted briefly to avoid seeming rude and the man departed. Within a few minutes, an undercover police officer approached Mr. Lafontain and his friend and arrested them, suspecting them of prostitution. “We were surprised,” Mr. Lafontain told me, “because we had never talked to anyone about sex or money.”
I met Mr. Lafontain last week in Jackson Heights, not far from where his arrest had taken place, at the offices of Make the Road New York, a community-organizing group that works primarily with Latino immigrants. It has tried, along with various anti-violence projects in the city, to call attention to the perverse specifics of stop-and-frisk policing — a practice currently on trial in federal court in Lower Manhattan — as it applies to gay, lesbian and transgender New Yorkers who are Black and Latino. Last fall, the group issued a report on policing in Jackson Heights, a neighborhood with a vibrant gay and transgender community and attendant club scene (and also a prostitution problem), and found in its survey of more than 300 residents that while 28 percent of straight respondents reported having been stopped by the police, 54 percent of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender respondents reported this kind of treatment.
By the way, I changed the title of the article because I felt that the original title (“Arrests by The Fashion Police”) created by the people at the New York Times was mocking the severity of the issues being discussed in the article.
“Both are dressed as women, Mr. Lafontain in a jacket, short dress and heels.” There are so many things wrong with this article, this line being but one example. Glad you changed the title and provided the original.