N.Y. Assembly OK's Transgender Rights Bill; Will Senate Follow?

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com April 30 2012 6:13 PM ET

The New York State Assembly today passed a bill banning discrimination based on gender identity and expression, but its prospects in the Senate are uncertain.

This is the fifth time the Assembly has passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, according to the Empire State Pride Agenda, the statewide LGBT rights group. However, it has stalled in the Senate every time.

The bill passed the Assembly with broad bipartisan support, Pride Agenda reports. The chamber “has consistently set an example on transgender rights, and today is no exception,” said Lynn A. Faria, Pride Agenda’s interim executive director, in a press release. “Now it is time for the State Senate to remedy the patchwork of protections that cover transgender people in localities and counties across the state and pass this statewide law.”

Within the state, cities including Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, and Rochester have passed transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws, as have Westchester, Suffolk, and Tompkins counties. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have similar laws.

Antitransgender discrimination is widespread; in a survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 74% of transgender people reported experiencing harassment or mistreatment on the job. Support for nondiscrimination legislation is widespread as well, however, as 78% of New Yorkers are in favor of a transgender civil rights bill, Pride Agenda notes.