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New York Legislature Passes Two Pro-LGBTQ Bills

After years and years of attempting to protect transgender New Yorkers, the New York state legislature has passed GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act.

After years and years of attempting to protect transgender New Yorkers, the New York state legislature has passed GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act.

The legislation explicitly bans discrimination in the state based on gender expression and gender identity. The bill won passage with a vote of 100-40 in the Assembly and 42-19 in the Senate.

Transgender and gender non-conforming people will now be protected in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

“This is truly an historic day,” Eric Lesh, executive director of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, told The Daily Beast. “We are finally welcoming a fairer and more equal New York because of the bold and tireless leadership of trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, GENDA passed in the state Assembly 11 times over the years, but the GOP-controlled Senate would kill the bill. Only now that Democrats control the Senate has the legislation finally passed and will head to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk to be signed into law.

Additionally, a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ passed in both chambers, making New York the 15th state to protect LGBTQ youth from the harmful practice.

The legislation passed in the state Assembly 134 to 3, and in the state Senate by a vote of 57-4.

“Today’s historic action in New York is the result of years of hard work and it is a vivid illustration of the importance of electing pro-equality lawmakers,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement.

“Due to the efforts of countless advocates and leaders, transgender New Yorkers will now be explicitly protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and LGBTQ youth will be protected from the dangerous, debunked practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy,'” he added. “This is a monumental day for fairness and equality across the Empire State.”

Major medical organizations like the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all denounced ‘conversion therapy’ which treats being gay as a mental illness.

So-called ‘ex-gay therapy’ has been shown to lead to depression, anxiety and, in some cases, suicide.

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NY Times supports passage of Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act

Editorial from the New York Times:

A measure to outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression — the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Daniel Squadron — passed the Democratic-led Assembly in April for the sixth time. There is a good chance it would also pass the Senate, with nearly all Democrats and some Republicans voting in favor. The challenge is getting the bill to the floor for an up-or-down vote before the end of the legislative session, scheduled on June 20.

Senator Jeffrey Klein, the Democratic leader in the Senate’s coalition leadership, must insist on a vote. He should tell Senator Dean Skelos, the coalition’s Republican leader, that bottling up bills like this one is not part of their power-sharing deal. It would help if Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a supporter of the bill, would commit political capital to enacting the legislation before the session ends. Sixteen states — including New Jersey and Connecticut — and the District of Columbia have enacted anti-discrimination protections covering transgender people. New York should not lag on this important civil rights issue.