Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie today announced the Assembly has again passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The legislation would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in considerations of employment, education and in consumer credit and housing. The bill would also add offenses motivated by gender identity or expression to the hate crimes statute (A.3358, Gottfried).
"The Assembly Majority believes that everyone has the right to live free of harassment and discrimination," said Speaker Heastie. "This legislation extends clear legal protections to individuals who have been left vulnerable for far too long."
"Transgender people - whose gender identity, appearance, behavior or expression differs from their genetic sex at birth - face discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and other areas of life, and they are particularly vulnerable to hate crimes," said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Assembly sponsor of GENDA. "It's an embarrassment to New Yorkers that 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws barring discrimination on the basis of gender expression or identity while GENDA can't even get a vote in our State Senate. Adding gender expression and identity to the human rights and penal laws will give the community proper recognition, protection against repeal of the regulations, and add protection under the State's Hate Crimes Law."
Nineteen states, the District of Columbia and at least 157 cities and counties in the United States, including the cities of Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse and New York, and the counties of Albany, Suffolk, Tompkins and Westchester have passed gender-inclusive civil rights legislation. Today's legislation would ensure that all transgender New Yorkers have secure, lasting protections against discrimination.
Since 2008, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act has passed the Assembly 10 times.
"Today's legislation would close a gap that has left many New Yorkers vulnerable for far too long," said Assemblymember Deborah Glick. "Cities and counties all across the state have stepped up and recognized the importance of protecting transgender individuals from discrimination, and it is long overdue that the state guarantees these basic human rights for all transgender New Yorkers."
"It is unconscionable that current state law does not protect individuals from being fired or denied housing or services on the basis of their gender expression or identity," said Assemblymember Matthew Titone. "We must clarify, once and for all, that New York will not tolerate discrimination against transgender people."
"Everyone deserves to live their lives free from discrimination. That's why the Assembly Majority has fought for a decade to put protections for transgender individuals into our state laws," said Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell "This legislation will help make that a reality here in New York State."
"Despite our state's longstanding commitment to equal rights, we are still coming up short when it comes to discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression," said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. "Tolerating discrimination of any kind is simply unacceptable. We'll continue fighting to make our laws recognize the dignity of all and reflect our values of equality for all while ensuring that every New Yorker is able to thrive without fear of discrimination simply because of who they are."