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.”

Two weeks after coming out as a woman, Sklarz was fired from her job.

“We need to fix that this session. They should be out and proud and know the state of New York will protect your rights,” said New York Sen. Brad Hoylman.

“It is so long overdue for New York state to stand in the right place in the course of history,” said New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

Advocates have pushed the bill since 2003 and have no plans to give up.

“We are here every week, every month, every year so that the leaders in the Senate take our needs seriously,” Sklarz said.

The Senate has until June 17 to pass the GENDA bill before breaking for the summer and fall.