Four months after New York became the 13th state in the nation to outlaw discrimination against gay men and lesbians, transgender rights advocates continue to seek the same protections. A law prohibiting antigay bias in employment, housing, education, and public services took effect in January, but many transgendered people feel betrayed that they are not included under the new statute.
On Monday dozens of transgender activists, holding signs like "Gender rights now," joined lawmakers to introduce an antidiscrimination bill. "This is about basic human rights," said state senator Thomas Duane, the senate sponsor of the bill and the chamber's only openly gay member.
Currently, three states and 53 cities and counties in the United States--including New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Suffolk County--have passed laws protecting transgender rights.
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat and cosponsor of the transgender rights bill in the assembly, said many people mistakenly assume that the gay rights measure applies to transgendered people as well. Gottfried said a law safeguarding transgender rights is "long overdue."