New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will issue an executive order banning transgender discrimination in housing and employment after a similar bill has been repeatedly blocked by Republicans in the state Senate.
Cuomo made his announcement to bypass the legislature at an Empire State Pride Agenda dinner in New York on Thursday (22 October).
‘I am directing the State Division of Human Rights to immediately issue regulations defining New York State’s anti-discrimination law to prohibit discrimination against trans individuals in the state of New York,’ he said.
‘It will apply to all people, all businesses, all facilities – be they public or private – all fields of endeavor, and employment, housing, public accommodations and credit.’
We will not tolerate discrimination or harassment against transgender people anywhere in New York State—period. pic.twitter.com/NGhnD5SKu1
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) October 23, 2015
The order will add gender identity, transgender status and gender dysphoria to a state discrimination law passed in 1945.
‘It is clear that the fair legal interpretation and definition of a person’s sex includes gender identity and gender expression,’ Cuomo told a cheering crowd.
‘It is intolerable to allow discrimination of transgender individuals, and they are one of the most abused, harassed groups in society today.’
A similar bill, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), was first introduced in the state Assembly and Senate in 2003 and was passed by the Democrat-led Assembly eight times. However, it never came to a vote in the Republican-controlled controlled Senate.
Human Rights Campaign hailed Cuomo’s move as a ‘historic step.’
‘This critically important step by Governor Cuomo is not only consistent with case law, but is the moral choice to protect thousands of transgender New Yorkers and visitors,’ said HRC President Chad Griffin.
‘We congratulate the governor on his leadership and vision on LGBT equality which has and will continue to inspire the nation.’
According to the Empire State Pride Agenda, 74% of transgender New Yorkers have been harassed or mistreated on the job, 19% denied a home or apartment, and 53% harassed in public accommodations, such as a restaurant, library, store, or public transportation.