New anti-discrimination safeguards enacted to protect transgender residents

Oct 23, 2015

Transgender individuals in New York State will soon have new protections against discrimination and harassment as the result of a new executive action taken by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Credit WBFO

New York’s anti-discrimination law, which already prohibits discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, religion, and disability will now protect those who identify as transgender.

“It is intolerable to allow discrimination of transgender individuals, and they are one of the most abused and harassed groups in society today,” said the governor.

The protection under the law will prevent transgender people from being discriminated in employment, housing, schools, and other public accommodations.  Cuomo, who spoke in front of supporters on Thursday, said diversity and equality go hand-in-hand.

Under the expanded law, those found guilty of discrimination or harassment could face up to $100,000 in civil fines and penalties if the case is found to be “willful, wanton, or malicious.”

“It is intolerable to allow discrimination of transgender individuals, and they are one of the most abused and harassed groups in society today,” he said.

Cuomo said he hopes the state will become the pioneer for the transgender movement, as he is the first U.S. governor to put forth statewide anti-harassment and discrimination laws based on gender identity.

While the governor said pleased with the state’s progress, he's convinced there is more work to be done.

“We are still not yet finished. Equality is more a journey than a destination and they’re still those who need to be convinced. They’re still stereotypes and biases that still exist as we sit here tonight.”