Calls on Senate to Mend the Current Patchwork of Protections
Albany, NY, April 30, 2012— The Empire State Pride Agenda, New York State’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organization, hailed the New York State Assembly for passing today the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). This is the fifth time the Assembly has passed the bill with broad bipartisan support.
“Today, the New York State Assembly, yet again, demonstrated their commitment to making sure that all New Yorkers, including transgender New Yorkers, are treated fairly and granted equal protection under the law,” said Lynn A. Faria, Interim Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. “Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance, and that is exactly what this bill would prevent.”
The Assembly passage of GENDA comes on the heels of last week’s ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that under federal law people cannot be discriminated against in employment because they are transgender or because of how they express their gender identity. Currently under New York State law, a person can lose their job, be refused service in a restaurant, kicked out of a public library or evicted from their home simply because of how they express their gender. GENDA would extend basic civil rights protections to all New Yorkers based on their gender identity and expression. GENDA has passed the New York State Assembly in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
“The New York State Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, has consistently set an example on transgender rights, and today is no exception,” continued Faria. “Now it is time for the State Senate to remedy the patchwork of protections that cover transgender people in localities and counties across the state and pass this statewide law.”
Cities across New York State including Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City and Rochester have passed transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws, along with Westchester, Suffolk and Tompkins Counties. According to a needs assessment compiled by the New York State LGBT Health and Human Services Network, more than one-third of transgender New Yorkers have been homeless at one time. A recently released survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality found even more examples of discrimination, including that 74% of transgender people reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job.
78% of New Yorkers are in favor of a transgender civil rights bill and 16 states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws on the books.
The Chiefs of Police of Albany and Rochester sent letters to the legislature urging passage of GENDA. In addition, the state’s leading women’s organizations including the League of Women Voters of New York State, Family Planning Advocates of New York State, the YWCA Northeast Regional Council and the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault signed on in support of the bill.
“All hardworking New Yorkers, including transgender people, should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families,” said Faria. “This bill would provide nothing more and nothing less than fairness – something we all deserve here in the Empire State.”
Read the final roll call of votes here: http://www.prideagenda.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2iNMmbWpRJ0%3d&tabid=81
Read the full EEOC decision here: http://transgenderlawcenter.org/cms/blogs/552-24#ruling
Read the full LGBT Health and Human Services Needs Assessment here: http://www.prideagenda.org/Portals/0/pdfs/LGBT%20Health%20and%20Human%20Services%20Needs%20in%20New%20York%20State.pdf
Read Injustice at Every Turn, a report by the National Center for Transgender Equality here: http://transequality.org/PDFs/NTDS_Report.pdf
Read the Global Strategies Group poll here: http://www.prideagenda.org/Portals/0/GENDA%20Survey-Press%20Topline_final.pdf