New York State Passes GENDA Transgender Rights Law

Tamara Leigh, Communications Director Out Alliance. | Channel 8 interview

GENDA, first introduced in 2003, and since passed by the Assembly eight times, was approved today by the NY Senate and sent to the Governor. This historic milestone for transgender rights is the result of passionate advocacy by countless grassroots groups like The Long Island Transgender Advocacy Coalition, Out Alliance and state and national efforts.

S01047  Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression; defines “gender identity or expression” as having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth; further includes offenses regarding gender identity or expression within the list of offenses subject to treatment as hate crimes.

Gov. Cuomo applauded the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) in a press release:

“At a time when the federal government is doing everything it can to roll back the hard won rights of transgender Americans, New York State is once again stepping up for full equality and equal protections under the law. We were the first state in the nation to issue regulations prohibiting harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, and continue to fight this federal administration’s despicable attacks on trans people. This is an issue of basic fairness, and today marks an historic day for those in the LGBTQ community who fought tirelessly for the passage of this bill. I applaud the Legislature for acting quickly to pass this critical component of our Justice Agenda.

LAMBDA legal said “GENDA enshrines in New York State’s Human Rights Law explicit protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. While New York state and federal courts across the country have ruled that sex discrimination protections extend to discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, GENDA sends a clear and unequivocal message that New York will not tolerate discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people.”

The Legislature also sent the Governor S01046, a bill prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under the age of eighteen years.

“Lambda Legal applauds the critical step the State of New York took in the campaign to stop so-called “conversion therapy” across the country,” said Currey Cook, Counsel and Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project Director. “New York joins 14 other states, the District of Columbia, and numerous municipalities that have passed similar laws or ordinances banning this harmful and widely discredited practice used on children. No child should be subjected to these dangerous efforts to try to change who they are, especially when those methods cause lifelong trauma and have been condemned by every mainstream psychological, social science and child welfare organization.”

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender



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