LGBT rights groups in New York, celebrating on June 21 the one year anniversary of the state’s gay marriage law, have called for a new push to promote trans equality.
The Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization, today marked the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Marriage Equality Act by calling for further action to protect the rights of LGBT New Yorkers.
Lynn Faria, Interim Executive Director said: “One year ago, the Pride Agenda celebrated a monumental achievement for all New Yorkers. In fact, we’ve spent the last 12 months celebrating. At weddings from Montauk to Niagara Falls, LGBT New Yorkers have legally confirmed what we’ve known all along — that nothing is more universally human than the love between two people. We thank Governor Cuomo for his friendship and bold leadership, and we applaud members of the legislature who stood in solidarity with us by voting to defend the rights of their constituents.
“While marriage equality was a transformational win, our work is far from done. Thousands of New Yorkers who are transgender still don’t have the basic protections that so many take for granted.
“The Pride Agenda won’t stop fighting until all LGBT people have the same protections as other residents of the state — it’s a matter of life and death, and it’s the right thing to do. Though this legislative session may be over, we will continue to push for the passage of a transgender civil right bill until justice has been achieved.”
As part of this push, a $3,000 Callamus Foundation grant will be put, in part, to educating young people about gender identity and expression issues and to support moves to pass a gender identity and expression-inclusive nondiscrimination act, though the money must be used for educational purposes and not direct lobbying efforts.
The 2011 push for marriage equality saw several Republican lawmakers vote with an overwhelming majority of Democratic senators to support a marriage equality bill. This advance was largely put down to fierce wrangling behind the scenes by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s.
Cuomo is also known to support moves to advance a trans rights bill. However, a year on, and with the legislative session now closed, a trans discrimination bill has not been moved.
The legislation, known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), passed the New York Assembly with broad bipartisan support earlier this year, but it was not taken up by the Senate. The legislation has been approved by the lower chamber in the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 sessions, each time dying in the hands of the Senate.
As such, it is still legal for New York employers to fire a transgender identifying worker, and for a trans person to be kicked out of their rented accommodation simply because of their identity.
GENDA would change that by extending basic civil rights protections to cover trans citizens in employment, public accommodations, the housing and credit sectors, and in education. The bill is also designed to add gender identity to the state’s hate crimes statute.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws on the books, while several NY cities including Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City and Rochester, having trans-inclusive nondiscrimination laws.