AIDS Issues Update Blog

Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS

GENDA Battle Heats Up in Albany

Posted by kristin , May 09, 2012

GENDA Battle Heats Up in Albany

Housing Works Staff Advocating for GENDA Bill in Year’s Past

Empire State Pride Agenda Equality & Justice Day Calls for Transgender Rights

By: Carmelita Cruz, Director of NYS Advocacy & Organizing

Housing Works transgender activists and allies joined hundreds of activists from across New York State on Tuesday, May 8th for the Pride Agenda’s annual Equality & Justice Day. The focus of this year’s event was transgender rights: passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), transgender healthcare issues and LGBT youth housing.

The day held workshops, caucus’, legislative office visits and a rally that was moved inside due to the weather. But it didn’t dampen the spirits of the folks in the room. Chanting and applause could be heard throughout the Concourse during the afternoon in-door rally where one of the speakers was the new Senate bill sponsor, Daniel Squadron, a Democrat from lower Manhattan and part of Brooklyn.

Activists were on hand to thank the Assembly for the April 30th passage of the GENDA bill, for the 5th year in a row. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (a Democrat from the Chelsea area of Manhattan) is the Assembly bill sponsor and spent about two hours methodically arguing the bill amid insane accusations from Assembly Republicans. The major challenge being issues arising around bathrooms.

Currently, GENDA protections exist in a hodgepodge across the State: Rochester, Ithaca, Albany, Buffalo, New York City and Westchester, Tompkins and Suffolk Counties. These jurisdictions account for about 75% of the State’s population. Assemblyman Gottfried argued that the protections should be extended to cover the remaining 25% of the State’s population.

No bathroom issues have arisen in the jurisdictions within the State or the 16 States and District of Columbia that have GENDA protections in place. So why does this argument appeal to opponents of LGBT rights? It’s a fear tactic, with no supporting evidence.

Hopefully, Senate Republicans will open their eyes and acknowledge that no issues have arisen in areas with GENDA laws in place and decide to support passage of this law for New York State residents. This isn’t a bi-partisan issue, it isn’t an LGBT issue, it’s a human rights issue. And it’s time for New York State to PASS GENDA NOW!

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