NYS Assembly passes gender identity protection

May 10, 2016

New York State's Assembly has passed a measure aimed at preventing discrimination due to a person's gender identity or expression.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) protects New Yorkers from facing discrimination in many aspects of daily life, including employment, housing and education. It also expands New York’s hate crime laws to include crimes against people because of their gender identity or expression.

The bill seeks to establish the same civil rights protections for transgender identity as other protections against discrimination for New Yorkers.  The legislation not only prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, but would expand New York State’s hate crime laws to include crimes against people because of their gender identity or expression.

“This legislation represents the Assembly’s continued commitment to protecting all New Yorkers from discriminatory practices,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in announcing the passage. “It is unconscionable that neither the federal or state government have declared discrimination against transgender individuals illegal. This bill addresses that injustice.”

"Transgender rights are human rights,” said Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, sponsor of the bill. “It's an embarrassment to New Yorkers that 18 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws barring discrimination on the basis of gender identity, while GENDA can’t even get a vote in our State Senate."

"While North Carolina and other states try to roll back progress by attacking transgender rights, New York should stand up for common sense, fairness and justice,” Gottfried said.

Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes praised the bill., “New York has historically been a leader in securing equal rights and protections for its citizens," she said. "Once again, the Assembly has passed legislation to ensure that all New Yorkers have the protections they need and deserve to lead safe and fulfilling lives.”

Across New York State, many cities have also passed similar transgender-inclusive civil rights legislation including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, Albany and New York.