We urge New York to live up to its reputation as a civil rights leader and ensure that transgender, gender nonconforming and non-binary (TGNC-NB) New Yorkers are safe, affirmed and protected. The passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) alongside a reporting bill on the Hate Crimes Act will send a strong message to the nation that New York welcomes, affirms and celebrates TGNC-NB people for exactly who they are.
All New Yorkers deserve the freedom and opportunity to live without the constant fear of discrimination, harassment and violence. But right now, New York State law does not explicitly protect transgender, gender nonconforming and non-binary people against discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces like restaurants and shops.
Passage of GENDA would ensure explicit nondiscrimination protections for gender identity and gender expression under state law. New York has updated its laws over the years to protect people from discrimination based on their gender, age, race or sexual orientation. Now, our lawmakers need to take action to do the same for our family, friends, coworkers and neighbors who identify across the gender spectrum.
GENDA is common-sense legislation that ensures transgender people are treated fairly and equally under the law. We also recognize that to most effectively protect all marginalized communities who continue to be disproportionately impacted by hate crimes and targeted by the criminal justice system, lawmakers must implement new legislation alongside GENDA that would require the collection and reporting of data on the frequency of hate crimes in New York State. This data must include the sexual orientation, gender identity, racial identity and ethnic identity of victims, as well as those accused of crimes, to begin to address the overrepresentation of queer, TGNC-NB people and people of color in the criminal justice system.
This petition was created by The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center) and will be delivered to state legislators in February 2019. For more information about The Center’s RiseOut advocacy initiative, and to learn how you can get involved, visit gaycenter.org/advocacy.