Yesterday, the state Assembly voted to correct a serious omission in the state’s human rights law and protect more New Yorkers from discrimination. In a bipartisan vote of 108-to-34, the Assembly passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), a bill that would amend the state’s human rights law to protect individuals against discrimination based upon their gender identity or gender expression.
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 has left transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers vulnerable to harm and discrimination that creates barriers to the most basic of services, including housing, employment and medical care.
“The Assembly did the right thing and should be commended for it,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Now the Senate must quickly follow suit. Until our senators pass GENDA, New York law fails to protect the civil rights of transgender people.”
There currently is no statewide law prohibiting discrimination in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations based on an individual’s gender identity or expression. Many of New York’s counties, cities, towns and employers already prohibit this discrimination, as do 13 other states and the District of Columbia.
“It’s time for New York to now do the same,” Lieberman said.