Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried today announced the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) to protect transgender New Yorkers from being discriminated against in many areas of everyday life including employment, education, consumer credit, public accommodation and housing (A.4558-A, Gottfried).
"Various New York cities and counties have already acknowledged the importance of equal rights for all people and passed transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation," said Speaker Heastie. "It is time that we make this statewide legislation so that all New Yorkers can live their lives and be true to themselves without fear of being targeted or discriminated against."
"This is a long overdue protection of human rights," said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill, noting that the Assembly has passed the measure eight years in a row. "Every year my colleagues and I speak for transgender human rights and equal protection under the law, and every year, opponents spin imaginary horror stories, none of which have anything to do with this bill. Local GENDA laws have been on the books in large parts of the state for years, without any problems. It's time to protect all New Yorkers' right to fair housing, employment, use of public accommodations, and protection against hate crimes."
The GENDA legislation, which the Assembly has passed annually since 2008, would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The measure also expands the state's hate crime protections to explicitly include crimes against people due to their gender identity or expression.
Assemblymember Joseph Lentol said "In our state, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, race, disability, or ethnicity, yet there are no protections based on gender identity and expression. GENDA would change that and ensure that all New Yorkers have the civil rights protections they are entitled to."
Assemblymember Deborah Glick said "Currently, people can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, and experience discrimination just because of their gender identity or expression. GENDA would extend long overdue civil rights protections to the transgender community so that these acts of discrimination are no longer protected from prosecution."
Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell said "The passage of GENDA furthers the Assembly's longstanding commitment to equality for all New Yorkers. No one should face discrimination or fear for their safety because of their gender identity. This legislation would help make equal rights for all New Yorkers a reality."
Assemblymember Matthew Titone said "Each and every New Yorker deserves equal rights under the law. The Assembly has been committed to protecting the rights of all New Yorkers. The passage of GENDA helps ensure no individual is denied these rights and protections because they are transgender."
Assemblymember Harry Bronson said "The Assembly has been at the forefront in the fight for equal rights for the transgender community. We cannot stand for discrimination in any form. For the eighth consecutive year, we have passed GENDA to help put an end to the prejudice and discrimination that far too many transgender individuals have to face on a regular basis."