The US state of New York’s Assembly yesterday voted to include gender identity and expression in anti-discrimination protections.
The bill, known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), passed by 102 votes to 33.
It would ban discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations, among other protections.
GENDA is sponsored by Senator Tom Duane and has 17 co-sponsors in the New York state Senate.
“The New York State Assembly made a clear choice – to protect transgender New Yorkers who have lived with prejudice and discrimination for their entire lives,” said Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Centre executive director, Richard Burns.
A dozen US states, along with the District of Columbia, have laws protecting against gender identity discrimination in employment and a further 11 have court rulings and or regulations that provide protection.
At present New York only provides protection in employment on the grounds of sexual orientation.
More than 100 American cities have ordinances banning gender identity discrimination.
Federal legislation to protect LGBT people against discrimination in the workplace is before the US Congress.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act has been passed by the House by 235 to 184.
It was originally designed to make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire or promote a person based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill passed the House but provisions protecting trans people were controversially dropped, as it was judged they would not attract enough support. The legislation now only covers sexual orientation discrimination.
“This vote is a potent example of effective statewide organising,” said Carrie Davis, Director of Adult Services and former Coordinator of the Gender Identity Project at the Centre.
“It demonstrates that we are indeed one lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, that we can work together to pass inclusive legislation that protects us all, and sends a powerful message to our national representatives that federal level protections like ENDA should be inclusive of gender identity and gender expression.
“We will continue to work with the coalition and our state senate to pass a bill that will protect us all. If we can do this in New York State, we can do it in Washington DC.”