Assemblymember Bronson: GENDA Defends the Rights of Transgender New Yorkers

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Henrietta) announced that legislation he co-sponsored to protect the rights of transgender New Yorkers passed the Assembly (A.3358). The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) adds gender identity and expression to the state’s protected classes and is a major step toward guaranteeing equality for all New Yorkers, Bronson noted.

“Despite our state’s longstanding commitment to equal rights, we are still coming up short when it comes to discrimination based on gender identity or expression, Assemblymember Bronson said. “Tolerating discrimination of any kind is simply unacceptable. Our transgender neighbors face discrimination every day, whether it’s getting harassed at work or hassled on the street. No one should endure being denied housing or essential services due to intolerance. 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.”

Current law protects New Yorkers from discrimination based on sex, creed, nationality, disability, military status, marital status and sexual orientation. GENDA expands New York State’s protected classes to include gender identity and expression. The measure also classifies offenses motivated by gender identity or expression as hate crimes and prohibits housing, education and employment discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

While cities and counties throughout the state have taken steps to affirm transgender rights, protection for transgender and gender-nonconforming people is inconsistent statewide. Passing GENDA is critical to ensuring transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers have equal and uniform protections, Bronson noted.

In 2017 alone, at least 28 transgender individuals were killed and there have been eight so far in 2018, including a transgender woman who was shot and killed in Buffalo.1 The toll is already far too high, and the continued degradation and dehumanization of trans individuals only fuels the cycle of inequality and violence, Bronson noted.