All New Yorkers, including transgender New Yorkers, deserve to be treated fairly and equally by the laws of our state.
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (A4558/Gottfried)(S61/Squadron) is a bill that would outlaw discrimination in New York State based on gender identity or expression. GENDA also would expand the state’s hate crimes law to explicitly include crimes against transgender people. Get involved — we need your help to pass GENDA! Find out more about discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.
- Watch and read stories from our TRANScribe Project and share your own.
- Contact your legislators to help pass GENDA.
- Download our Fact Sheet about GENDA.
- Fact Sheet on the Gender Expression Non-Discrmination Act.
- STUDY: The Cost of Employment and Housing Discrimination against Transgender Residents of New York
- STUDY: Local Laws and Government Policies Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Gender Identity in New York
Facts About GENDA
What is the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA)?
GENDA is New York State’s transgender non-discrimination bill. It would add the category of “gender identity and expression” to the already existing New York State Human Rights Law, which makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, race, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, sex and other categories in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education and credit.
GENDA would extend the New York State Human Rights Law to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression as well. Similarly, it would add gender identity and expression to these same categories already included in New York’s hate crimes law.
Why is this legislation necessary?
All New Yorkers should be treated fairly and equally by the laws of our state. Currently in New York State, people are losing their jobs, being refused service and even being evicted from their homes simply because they are transgender.
One out of every three transgender New Yorkers have been homeless at one time, and two out of three experience discrimination at work - this is an issue that our state cannot afford to ignore.
What is gender identity and expression and how does it differ from sexual orientation?
“Sexual orientation” is the preferred term used when referring to an individual's physical and/or emotional attraction to the same and/or opposite gender. “Lesbian,” gay,” and “bisexual” are all sexual orientations. A person's sexual orientation is distinct from a person's gender identity and expression.
The term “gender identity,” distinct from the term “sexual orientation," refers to a person's innate, deeply felt psychological identification as male or female, which may or may not correspond to the person's body or designated sex at birth (meaning what sex was originally listed on a person's birth certificate).
“Gender expression” refers to all of the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions. Social or cultural norms can vary widely and some characteristics that may be accepted as masculine, feminine or neutral in one culture may not be assessed similarly in another.
Is there support for prohibiting transgender discrimination?
There is broad and deep support for transgender New Yorkers across the state:
- Over 60 percent of New Yorkers live in a jurisdiction that prohibits this kind of discrimination.
- A Global Strategy Group poll found that 78% of New York voters support protections for transgender people. Support is strong across the state, whether in upstate (74%), New York City (79%) or the downstate suburbs (82%), and among Democrats (86%), Republicans (67%) and Independents (78%).
- GENDA has passed the Assembly six times with a bipartisan majority, yet our State Senate refuses to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
- 32 organizations who serve or advocate on behalf of women have publicly supported these efforts.
- Law enforcement leaders from Albany, Binghamton, New York City, Rochester, Suffolk County, Tompkins County and Yonkers are on our side.
- 584 New York State clergy and lay leaders support transgender non-discrimination protections, including high-level faith leaders.
- Unions representing millions of New Yorkers stand in solidarity with our movement.
- Newspapers like the Albany Times Union, Buffalo News, New York Times, Syracuse Post-Standard and Glens Falls Post-Star have editorialized in our favor.
Is there precedent for prohibiting discrimination against transgender people?
Yes, in both the public and private sector.
- 18 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have already passed similar non-discrimination laws—and implemented them successfully. Cities across New York State including Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester and Syracuse have passed local transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws, along with Albany, Suffolk, Tompkins and Westchester counties.
- New York prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression in state employment.
- In 2010, the Dignity for All Students Act passed. This law contains specific protections from discrimination and bullying on the basis of gender identity and expression in the state’s public schools.
- The private sector is leading the way and more than 150 private employers in New York have adopted their own policies to protect employees from transgender discrimination, including Alcoa, American Express, Bausch & Lomb, Citigroup, Corning Inc., Deutsche Bank, Eastman Kodak, Goldman Sachs, IBM, J.P. Morgan Chase, Keyspan, MetLife, The New York Times, PepsiCo, Xerox and Pfizer.
Isn’t transgender discrimination already prohibited by the law?
Neither federal nor state statutes specifically ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression in areas of employment, housing or public accommodations. 11 cities and counties in New York State have their own local non-discrimination ordinances inclusive of gender identity and expression. We must remedy this patchwork of protections, varying from city-to-city or county-to-county, with a statewide law.
While some New York State courts have found that existing prohibitions on ‘sex,’ ‘gender’ or ‘disability’ discrimination can apply to transgender people, those precedents do not apply in all circumstances and are not binding on the entire state. Because sexual orientation and gender identity and expression are different, courts generally have not interpreted sexual orientation non-discrimination laws to include transgender discrimination.
Download our Fact Sheet on GENDA as a PDF.