Gender-Expression Discrimination Bill Might Actually Pass in State Senate

The Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (or the cute "GENDA" for short) is a bill that recently made its way through the state assembly, and is en route to being passed. The bill enhances protections against gender identity discrimination - say, for example, trans-gendered employees - with regards to the workplace, housing, education, and credit. And it might've just received the final vote it needed in order to make it's way through the State Senate.

Via Housing Works, here's the problem: while New York City, along with four other cities and two counties in New York offer gender-expression discrimination protections, they aren't offered statewide. As detailed in the State Assembly bill's language, protections against this:

Discrimination based on gender identity or expression; defines "gender identity or expression" as having or being perceived as having a gender identity, self image, appearance, behavior or expression whether or not that gender identity, self image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth; further includes offenses regarding gender identity or expression within the list of offenses subject to treatment as hate crimes.

It's a hole in their protections that the bill's advocates hope to seal up, and again, according to Housing Works, New York would be the 14th state to do it. And they just locked down the vote that could help them get it through: the forward-thinking gentleman pictured at the top of this post, State Senator William Stachowski of Buffalo (one of the aforementioned cities that already has gender-discrimination protections in place). And Housing Works notes that Governor Paterson has already pledged to sign it.

The only question here, really, is how this hasn't happened sooner, if cities in New York State have had gender-discrimination protections since as early as 2002. In other words, this thing's been a long time coming.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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