Transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals waited far too long for their rights to be recognized, with discrimination and bigotry standing in the way of opportunities they should never have been denied. That ended earlier this year with the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) (Ch. 8 of 2019).
GENDA protects the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers and makes gender identity or expression one of the states protected classes. No one should ever be denied basic needs like housing and health care or employment opportunities because of anothers narrow-mindedness. Today, the provisions of GENDA that make it a hate crime to harm a person based on their gender identity or expression go into effect, providing more protection from discrimination.
As the Supreme Court struggles to decide whether a federal civil rights law protects gay and transgender employees and the federal administration continues to perpetuate intolerance, New York is taking a stand against hate. This new law makes it clear that here in the Empire State everyone deserves to be treated with fairness and respect.
To that end, we also passed a law this year that bars the gay and trans panic defense, which had allowed a victims sexual orientation or gender identity to be used as an affirmative defense to reduce a murder charge (Ch. 45 of 2019). This abhorrent defense blames the victims identity for their tragic death instead of calling the murder what it is a hate crime.
Our fight against bigotry is far from over, but we wont stand idly by while people are discriminated against for being themselves. GENDA is a victory for all transgender and gender-nonconforming New Yorkers.