The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act could be on track finally to pass the New York state senate as early as next month after garnering majority support this week. Housing Works reports that state senator William Stachowski became the latest member to commit to supporting GENDA, which brings to 32 the number of "yes" votes in the 62-member senate.
"GENDA would add the category of 'gender identity and expression' to existing New York State human rights laws that protect residents against discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education and credit," reports Housing Works. "It would make New York the 14th U.S. state to afford such protections."
GENDA already passed the Democratic-controlled state assembly, but the bill has been stalled in the more narrowly divided state senate.
Transgender activist Melissa Sklarz told The Advocate that while the ultimate outcome appears more hopeful now, obstacles still remain in terms of actually bringing the bill for a vote.
"It's wonderful news," said Sklarz. "The numbers look very good for GENDA coming to the senate floor in 2010. My concern is the internal senate workings. There's always the senate maneuvering."
She said advocates plan a small meeting next week to consider how to move GENDA from the senate's investigations and government operations committee, where Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. opposes the bill.
The next GENDA lobby day sponsored by Housing Works is scheduled for this Tuesday.