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Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition turns the heat up on GENDA

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Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition members demanding action on GENDA at Govenor cuomo Democratic party meeting

Andi Dier says no more rhetoric Gov. Cuomo. She wants her human rights. Right now.

14 years ago Trans New Yorker’s were left to fend for themselves, defenseless in the slaughter we see daily in the news. Four Years ago then candidate for Gov. Cuomo made it sound like transgender rights meant something to him. Those four years have passed and we have witnessed countless transgender murders. Genda wouldn’t magically end the violence but it would open the door for transgender New Yorker’s to a society with opportunities that would mean prosperity.

The May 26 2014 New York Times editorial nailed it.

“The only real hope for enacting the bill this session rests on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a supporter of the bill. “Working behind the scenes,” as Mr. Cuomo’s deputy secretary for civil rights, Alphonso David, says he and the governor are doing, is not enough. Mr. Cuomo needs to wage a strong and visible fight on this bill, as he did in his successful effort to push through same-sex marriage three years ago”

When the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) was finally passed in 2002, it failed to include protections against discrimination based on gender identity and expression. This oversight (sic) sacrifice has left transgender New Yorkers and those who do not conform to traditional understandings of masculinity and femininity vulnerable to harm – and without adequate legal recourse when victimized by discrimination. The persistence of such discrimination is greatly underappreciated; and even among law makers there is ignorance of the lack of explicit legal protections against such harm. -Position paper by the NYCLU.

Juli Grey-Owens from (LITAC) notes that in 2010, then candidate for Governor, Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying:”

“New Yorkers believe that their neighbors should be afforded the same rights and privileges under the law that they receive. I will work with our leaders in the legislature to achieve passage of the Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), and with our state agencies to eliminate health disparities for LGBT New Yorkers.”

4 years later, transgender New Yorkers are still without basic civil rights. In the meantime states like Iowa and New Mexico have added transgender protections to their civil rights laws.
It is now 2014, and Governor Cuomo is running for reelection. Here’s what he is saying about GENDA, in a letter to Empire State Pride Agenda:

“I write to reiterate my deep commitment to protect the rights of all New Yorkers, including those in the transgender community. Indeed, New York State has a long history of advancing transformative civil rights laws in an effort to protect disadvantaged citizens. We must continue to advance progressive reforms to protect those who continue to suffer discrimination without recourse.”

Some would advise to wait and see what the administration will do. Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition(LITAC) activist Andi Dier talks about why they protested.

“We did this because Cuomo seems to have put us on the back burner. He isn’t even urging his colleagues to pass GENDA like he campaigned for marriage. It seems once he did that he’s done with LGBT issues. There’s so much fucked up shit going on in New York. And everyone thinks we’re already protected. I know a trans woman who was put into a man’s prison where she was brutally raped and trans guy who’s being forced to house with women.”

“We’ve been going to the Nassau County legislature every month to demand them to add four simple words to protect us. But the Republicans told us we’re already covered and they’re not going to do something “just to make us feel better,” when we know that’s a lie. We have doubts to whether anything will be done on the local level. And we’re likely stuck waiting for GENDA to pass.”

“But we won’t let Cuomo use us as rhetoric. He’s had four years, we’ve been waiting longer than that. We’re going to make sure he knows he’s being challenged, which we did Saturday.”

Kelli Busey
Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender



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