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Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) passes Assembly!

A.4226, my bill to protect transgender people under the State Human Rights Law was approved by the Assembly today for the sixth consecutive time; the vote was 84-46. GENDA will now be referred to the State Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee.

The experience of transgender individuals is unique, and the discrimination they face should be unambiguously identified and rejected in our State’s civil rights laws, just like discrimination based on age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, race, disability, or ethnicity. This is an important and overdue protection of human rights.

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. The transgender community is not protected under current state law.

No New Yorker should fear losing a job or a home because of their gender identity.

Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, and the counties of Suffolk and Tompkins have already enacted local GENDA laws. Sixteen states, Washington, D.C., and over 150 other localities across the country have passed transgender-inclusive civil rights legislation. Numerous private employers have also adopted policies protecting transgender employees from discrimination, including American Express, Eastman Kodak, and I.B.M.

Empire State Pride Agenda, Housing Works, and dozens of other LGBT organizations across New York have called for the passage of GENDA. Additional support for GENDA includes a broad range of religious and faith tradition communities, the New York City Bar Association, and numerous labor unions including the NYS AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, AFSCME District Council 37, United Auto Workers Region 9A Metro NYC CAP Council, NYS United Teachers, CSEA, Screen Actors Guild, and Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.

The Assembly bill has 60 sponsors including members representing urban, suburban, upstate, and rural New York. State Senator Daniel Squadron sponsors the Senate version, S.195.