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Protecting transgender rights: GENDA passes Assembly

My bill to protect transgender people under the State Human Rights Law was approved by the Assembly yesterday.  The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which I’ve been sponsoring since 2003, is now in committee in the State Senate.

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.

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

Sixteen states, Washington, D.C. and over 150 other localities across the country including Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, and the counties of Suffolk and Tompkins have already enacted local GENDA laws.  The bill has now passed the Assembly six times.

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