|Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:05 PM|
The New York State Assembly just passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) for the fifth time, with broad bipartisan support. Now it is time for the State Senate to mend the patchwork of protections that cover transgender people in localities and counties across the state and pass this statewide law.
Under the leadership of Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, the Assembly has consistently set an example on transgender rights, passing the bill in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Today, the Assembly yet again demonstrated their commitment to making sure that all New Yorkers, including transgender New Yorkers, are treated fairly and granted equal protection under the law.
This Assembly’s passage of GENDA comes on the heels of last week’s ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that under federal law people cannot be discriminated against in employment because they are transgender or because of how they express their gender identity. While this decision is a step forward, transgender New Yorkers need the full protections of GENDA. I urge you tell your senator how urgent it is for them to act.
Currently under New York State law, a person can lose their job, be refused service in a restaurant, kicked out of a public library or evicted from their home simply because of how they express their gender. As a result of this discrimination, more than one-third of transgender New Yorkers have been homeless at one time and 74% of transgender people have been harassed at work.
With 78% of New Yorkers in favor of a transgender civil rights bill, what is our State Senate waiting for? This bill would provide nothing more and nothing less than fairness – something we all deserve here in the Empire State.