Protecting Transgender Rights: “GENDA” Passes Assembly

(NEWS FROM Assembly Health Committee Chair  Richard N. Gottfried) For Immediate Release Wednesday, 5/27/15, Contact Mischa Sogut, (518) 455-4941, — 

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.

NEWS FROM Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, 822 Legislative Office Building, Albany, NY 12248 – Tel: 518-455-4941, 250 Broadway, #2232, New York, NY 10007 – Tel: 212-312-1492  Twitter: @DickGottfried