Albany, NY Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson today announced the passage of three important bills to protect members of the LGBTQ community, including a bill to end the so-called Gay Panic and Trans Panic Defense, a bill providing for the collection of sexual orientation and gender identity demographic data on state documents, and a bill requiring employees working with older adults to participate in an LGBT cultural competency training program.
No matter who you are, what you look like, who you love, or how you identify, all New Yorkers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, said Bronson. That is why I am proud to have voted for this package of bills that will bring greater equality and protections to LGBTQ New Yorkers across the state. I want to thank my colleagues in the Assembly for supporting these bills and demonstrating that in New York State, we recognize and value the lives of each and every one of our citizens.
As Chair of the Assembly Aging Committee Bronson authored and secured passage of A7593, a bill which requires employees working with older adults to take an LGBT competency training and requires the State Office for the Aging to regularly update their official documents to be inclusive of the LGBTQ community.
A history of victimization and discrimination lead many LGBTQ older adults to hide their identity out of fear of receiving inferior care, or being denied services. By providing their caregivers with cultural competency training, this bill will improve health outcomes and reduce the isolation and insecurity faced by many older LGBTQ New Yorkers, Bronson added.
Bronson also authored and successfully passed A7929, which requires every state agency, board, or commission that directly collects data on ethnic origin for residents of New York to also collect information on sexual orientation and gender identity. This bill simply provides for official paperwork to include those categories and any New Yorker who feels uncomfortable disclosing such information is in no way mandated to provide it.
If the LGBTQ community is not seen in state data, then we cannot be counted fairly and our voices cannot be heard when important decisions are being made in state government.
The LGBTQ community in New York is incredibly diverse in terms of geography, education, health and economic circumstances. It is vital that New York State have accurate data available so we can make more informed decisions about funding and access to services that address the needs of the LGBTQ community, Bronson said.
Assemblymember Bronson also cosponsored and voted in favor of a bill (A8375) that would eliminate an existing legal defense known as the Gay/Trans Panic Defense. Until this bill was passed, a person who murdered an LGBTQ New Yorker could claim that learning their victim identified as gay or transgender caused them an extreme emotional disturbance similar to a state of temporary insanity, which would reduce their culpability in having committed such a crime.
In any other situation we would not believe it is right to murder someone simply because of who they are, said Bronson. LGBTQ New Yorkers should be able to live their lives authentically and not have to worry that their sexual orientation or gender identity will cause someone to fly into such a rage that it warrants their murder. It is a shame this defense was ever allowed on the books, and I am proud to vote in favor of sending it to the dustbin of history.