Tag LGBT

PRESS RELEASE – Assembly Passes GENDA

Contact:                                              For Immediate Release
Mischa Sogut, (518) 455-4941                              May 9, 2016
SogutM@assembly.state.ny.us

Protecting Transgender Rights:
“GENDA” Passes Assembly

Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act has Broad Support 
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (“GENDA,” A4558B/S61B), which protects transgender people under the State Human Rights Law, was approved by the Assembly today for the ninth time. The bill now goes to the State Senate.
        “Transgender rights are human rights,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of GENDA. “It’s an embarrassment to New Yorkers that 18 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws barring discrimination on the basis of gender identity, while GENDA can’t even get a vote in our State Senate.  While North Carolina and other states try to roll back progress by attacking transgender rights, New York should stand up for common sense, fairness, and justice.”
        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.
New York State courts, other state courts, federal courts, and numerous federal agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have held that sex discrimination, under various anti-discrimination laws, includes discrimination based on gender identity or expression. In 2015, the State Division of Human Rights adopted this interpretation of New York’s Human Rights Law. “However, a future governor could reverse that interpretation,” said Assembly Member Gottfried. “It is important that the transgender community be protected by statute.”
Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, and the counties of Albany, Suffolk, Tompkins and Westchester have already enacted local GENDA laws.  Numerous private employers have also adopted policies protecting transgender employees from discrimination, including American Express, Eastman Kodak, and I.B.M.
        GENDA is supported by Housing Works, New York State United Teachers, dozens of LGBT organizations across New York, a broad range of religious and faith 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 67 sponsors including members representing urban, suburban, upstate, and rural New York.  State Senator Daniel Squadron sponsors the bill in the Senate.
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Daily News: Gov. Cuomo announces plan to enact transgender anti-discrimination protections

By Ken Lovett, 10/23

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo Thursday night announced a plan to provide anti-discrimination protections to transgender people.

A bill to ban discrimination in the areas of employment, housing or public accommodations based on gender identity or expression has repeatedly stalled in the state Senate.

Cuomo told the Empire State Pride Agenda he plans to bypass the Legislature — as he did in raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers — by granting transgender people protections through a regulatory process he controls.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle: After 12 years, The Alliance is still fighting for LGBT rights in the courts

Rob Abruzzese, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 29, 2015

Growing up with two politically connected parents led Marc Levine to become an active member of society himself at a young age. He helped to create the Newkirk Area Neighborhood Association where he volunteered so much of his time that people thought it was his full-time job and they assumed that he would eventually run for office.

A sexual harassment complaint changed all of that and put Levine on a path which would eventually lead him to creating the Gay/Straight Alliance of the New York State Justice System.

“I was one of those crazy over-involved people,” Levine said. “Then all of a sudden, I was forced to come out because I had this crazy accusation against me and, quite frankly, it changed my life. It took me three years to regroup from that, but afterward it led me to create The Alliance.”

Legislative Gazette: Assembly Passes GENDA for Eighth Time

By Karla Ann Cote, June 8

Members of the Empire State Pride Agenda were in Albany on June 2 to witness the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, in the Assembly. Now they are imploring the Senate to do the same.

GENDA would provide equal protection to transgender people under the State Human Rights Law by expanding current legislation to explicitly address workplace harassment, institutionally-sanctioned discrimination, homelessness and unequal access to medical care.

TWC News: LGBT Activists Demand State Senate to Pass GENDA Bill (Video)

By Emily DeFeciani, June 2 (Link includes video)

ALBANY, N.Y. — LGBT advocates rallied at the Capitol Tuesday, demanding the state Senate to pass the GENDA bill for transgender equal rights after the Assembly already passed the legislation for an eigth time.

“Transgender people in New York have no protection in the workplace, they have no protection with healthcare, in housing, and public accommodations,” said Melissa Sklarz, co-chair for the Empire State Pride Agenda.

Different forms of discrimination Sklarz said she has faced personally time and again since she transitioned. She said “the mere act of walking in the street opens people up to abuse.”

State of Politics: Once Again, Assembly Approves GENDA

June 2, 2015

The Democratic-led Assembly on Tuesday once again approved the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, a bill whose fate remains uncertain in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The measure was approved this afternoon, 88-45.

“Various New York cities and counties have already acknowledged the importance of equal rights for all people and passed transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation,” said Speaker Carl Heastie in a statement. “It is time that we make this statewide legislation so that all New Yorkers can live their lives and be true to themselves without fear of being targeted or discriminated against.”

The bill would ban discrimination based on one’s gender identity or expression and also expand hate-crime laws that would explicitly outlaw crimes committed against people due to their identity or expression.

LGBT advocacy groups in recent years have focused on make GENDA the law, especially in the years after the passage of the legaliztion of same-sex marriage.

This is the eighth year in a row lawmakers in the Assembly have backed the bill.

“Every year my colleagues and I speak for transgender human rights and equal protection under the law, and every year, opponents spin imaginary horror stories, none of which have anything to do with this bill,” said the bill’s main sponsor, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. “Local GENDA laws have been on the books in large parts of the state for years, without any problems. It’s time to protect all New Yorkers’ right to fair housing, employment, use of public accommodations, and protection against hate crimes.”

PRESS RELEASE – Protecting Transgender Rights: GENDA Passes Assembly

Protecting Transgender Rights:
“GENDA” Passes Assembly

 Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act has broad support

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (“GENDA,” A4558A/S61A), which protects transgender people under the State Human Rights Law, was approved by the Assembly today for the eighth time. The bill now goes to the State Senate.

“This is a long overdue protection of human rights. It’s an embarrassment to New York that it has not become law,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill.  “People personally affected and hurt by the lack of protections have been coming to Albany for decades to beg for transgender human rights and equal protection under the law.  GENDA was first introduced in Albany in 2003. It is now law in 19 states. These laws and local laws in New York have been on the books for years, without any problems. It’s unconscionable that all New Yorkers’ do not have the right to fair housing, employment, use of public accommodations, and protection against hate crimes.”

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,” Gottfried said.

Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, and the counties of Albany, Suffolk, Tompkins and Westchester have already enacted local GENDA laws. Nineteen states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and over 150 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 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 67 sponsors including members representing urban, suburban, upstate, and rural New York.  State Senator Daniel Squadron sponsors the Senate bill.

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At the press conference on June 2, 105 calling for the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act with members of the LGBT community, advocates from the Empire State Pride Agenda and other organizations supporting the bill. At left is Assembly Member Harry Bronson (D-Rochester). (Photo credit: New York State Assembly Photography)

Leading the debate on the Assembly floor on June 2, 2015, to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, legislation I sponsored in the Assembly to protect transgender people under New York State Human Rights Law.

2015 LGBT “Equality & Justice Day” at the State Capitol

On Tuesday, April 28, activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights from all across New York State converged on Albany for “Equality and Justice Day,” which was organized by the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA).  Hundreds of New Yorkers engaged in face-to-face lobbying, focusing their efforts on two important bills: the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA, A. 4558A), legislation I’ve introduced along with Senator Dan Squadron (D-Brooklyn & Manhattan) to ban discrimination on the basis of gender expression or identity; and A. 4958, a bill introduced by Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) and Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) that would prohibit mental health professionals from engaging in so-called “conversion therapy” to change the sexual orientation of minors.  In May, the Assembly will very likely pass GENDA for the eighth year in a row.  This year, we hope the Senate finally takes action on this long-overdue legislation.  Here is a video from ESPA in which several State legislators talk about grass roots activism and effectively engaging elected officials and their staff members.

 

Gay City News: Chelsea, With Highest HIV, Syphilis Rates, Loses City Clinic

BY ANDY HUMM 

The well-known Chelsea STD clinic on Ninth Ave. at 28th St., run by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Health in the neighborhood with New York’s highest HIV and syphilis infection rates, was shuttered for two to three years for renovations on March 21.

Patients are being directed more than 70 blocks north to the Riverside STD clinic at 160 W. 100th St., leaving no such facilities in Manhattan south of there, but three in and around Harlem. Relocating clinic services in Midtown or Downtown was deemed to be “prohibitively expensive” by the department. The shuttered clinic was in an area that a few years ago lost its only hospital — St. Vincent’s in the West Village — to luxury condo development.

Community testing facilities are scrambling to pick up the slack, with some in place and some not and with the department yet to promote them as alternatives.

The department poster on the closure only refers patients to W. 100th St.

Gay City News: Dick Gottfried, Gustavo Rivera Push Clean Needle Legalization

By Nathan Riley, January 22, 2015

A legislative proposal in Albany to reduce stigma, curb police harassment of drug users, and improve access to clean needles demonstrated broad support at a January 15 press conference in Manhattan.

State Senator Gustavo Rivera, who represents part of the Bronx, and Chelsea Assemblymember Dick Gottfried, both Democrats, discussed legislation they will introduce that would completely decriminalize syringe possession and lift restrictions on their sale in pharmacies. Distribution of clean needles to drug injectors in New York City has helped bring new HIV diagnoses among that group down from thousands annually to 89 in 2013.

Among those on hand with Rivera and Gottfried was Tracie Gardner, who has served as co-director of policy at the Legal Action Center and last month was named an assistant secretary of health by Governor Andrew Cuomo.