April 30, 2012

Assembly Approves Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act

Bill Would Protect Transgender New Yorkers
Under the State's Human Rights Law

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, bill sponsor Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Governmental Operations Committee Chair Steve Englebright, and Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol today announced the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), a measure aimed at ensuring transgender New Yorkers are protected from discrimination in areas of everyday life.

"All New Yorkers, including those who identify as transgender, should be able to live openly and without fear of discrimination in their attempts to get and keep a job, rent an apartment, or generally go about the business of living their lives," said Silver. "The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act of 2003 did not expressly include these protections for transgender New Yorkers. By approving this measure we can make certain every New Yorker has equal protection under the state’s Human Rights Law regardless of gender identity."

"It is unconscionable that transgender individuals still do not have protection from discrimination," said Gottfried. "The discrimination that transgender people face is unique and should be specifically identified and unambiguously rejected in our state’s civil rights laws, just like discrimination based on age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, race, disability, or ethnicity."

"Legal protections based upon gender identity and expression are a basic civil right," said Englebright. "By eliminating the fear of losing their jobs or homes, and ensuring fair treatment in other areas of everyday life, this bill will enable transgender New Yorkers to openly and actively participate in their communities."

"The approval of this measure is a crucial step in supporting the civil rights of the transgender community," said Lentol. "The Assembly Majority has historically supported protections for all groups of people, this landmark bill is another indication of that commitment."

GENDA (A.5039) ensures that all New Yorkers, including those who identify as transgender or present their gender in a way that differs from what is traditionally associated with their birth sex, are protected from discrimination in housing, employment, credit, public accommodations, and other areas of everyday life under the Human Rights Law. The measure also expands the state’s hate crime protections to explicitly include crimes against transgender people.

"With the passage of GENDA, the Assembly once again takes the lead in protecting all New Yorkers from discrimination. This long-overdue legislation is desperately needed; I thank Speaker Silver for once again moving our great state forward in the pursuit of justice for all our citizens," said Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell.

"The approval of GENDA is an important and overdue protection of human rights," said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. "For transgender New Yorkers, GENDA will provide equal protection under the Human Rights Law to ensure they are not discriminated against as a result of their gender identity or expression."

"Today marks the fifth consecutive year the Assembly has approved GENDA to end discrimination for all transgender New Yorkers," said Assemblyman Matthew Titone. "Cities across New York State including Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City and Rochester have passed transgender inclusive non-discrimination laws. This bill ensures that all New Yorkers regardless of their gender identity are protected from discrimination."

"For the fifth time in as many years, I applaud the Speaker and Assemblyman Gottfried on the passage of GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. This legislation fills an important gap in New York State’s non-discrimination laws. I hope that our friends in the Senate pass this legislation and afford all of our fellow citizens the same rights and privileges as everyone else," said Assemblyman Micah Kellner.

"All New Yorkers should be treated fairly and equally by the laws of our state," said Assemblyman Harry Bronson. "The approval of GENDA today will ensure all New Yorkers regardless of gender identity are protected from discrimination in housing, employment, credit, public accommodation, and other areas of everyday life under the Human Rights Law."