New York Lawmakers Pass Major Pro-LGBTQ Bills

After years and years of attempting to protect transgender New Yorkers, the New York state legislature has finally 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. 

While New York State has had laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation since 2002, trans people across the state have fought for 17 years for clear protections under state law.

“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,' added Griffin. "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.

(h/t HRC, The Daily Beast)

Kansas Sued Over Regressive Birth Certificate Policy

Lambda Legal, an organization that focuses on equal rights and protections for LGBTQ people files a federal lawsuit against the state of Kansas because of the state's regressive views of gender on birth certificates, Lambda Legal reports.

The lawsuit seeks to challenge Kansas' unwillingness to change the gender marker on birth certificates for transgender people. Out of the fifty states in the Union, only three have not moved towards a more progressive stance on gender. The other two states are Tennessee and Ohio. The population of Kansas is almost three million according to the census so it stands to reason that there will be at least one transgender person living there.

Luc Bensimon, a forty-six-year-old transgender man living un Topeka, Kansas says that by having a birth certificate that says female, it complicates his life and that because his birth certificate says female but his gender identity is male, it makes it easier for people to discriminate against him. In addition, by not having the option to correct gender markers, transgender individuals have to live a lie outside of their control. This policy is discriminatory towards transgender and nonbinary people and displays an antiquated view of gender identity. 

The lawsuit, Foster v. Andersen, says that transgender people's rights are being violated under the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Constitution, as well as having their first amendment free speech rights violated by not allowing them to correct their gender on their birth certificates. This refusal also contrasts with Kansas' policy of allowing people to change their gender on their driver's licenses and state ID cards.

Transgender people are people like you and me and they deserve the same rights as everyone else. However, that is not the case for many who face discrimination and violence due to their gender identity. By Lambda Legal suing the state of Kansas, they have the ability to effect change and add to the progress that the transgender community has already made.

h/t: Lambda Legal, US Census

Racist Homophobe Blames Black People for Trans Rights

Yes, you unfortunately read that correctly. In a stunning display of mental gymnastics, Beverly Goldstein, a 70-year-old Republican woman who is running for a seat in the House of Representatives, in a tweet blames illiterate black people who don't attend church every Sunday for the new anti-discrimination bills protecting LGBT people that were passed in Ohio recently, reports Queerty.

Can anyone make sense of that? Or find any correlation between illiterate people and transgender people? If she's looking for the minority vote, she's going about it completely wrong. To make matters worse, Goldstein is running against Marcia Fudge, a black woman, who called Goldstein's tweet racist and homophobic. Here is the tweet:



And you can view the 66% illiteracy statistic Seeds of Literacy While it doesn't mention the races of the people involved in this statistic, it's safe to assume that the entire 66% is not comprised solely of black people, nor does it say anything about church or anti-discrimination bills. So what is she even talking about? Her husband, Michael, offers an explanation. He says

"If most of them understood that this ordinance would allow transgender males, or sex offenders who masquerade as transgender males, to use women’s bathrooms regularly used by mothers and daughters, thereby endangering the safety of girls and women, they probably would have brought pressure to bear on their elected county representatives not to bring the resolution in the first place. But those who cannot read cannot be expected to know about the negative effects of the resolution."

Will anyone tell him that transgender males use the men's room or??? He also offers no evidence of the perceived negative effects of the resolution, which leads me to believe he just wants people to accept what he says without question. 

What's truly frightening is that there are still people in this country who think like the Goldsteins do. Transgender people just want to use the restroom that matches their gender identity, not to go and do nefarious things to women in public bathrooms. Perhaps Mrs. Goldstein should take her own advice and read up on transgender rights. There are currently nineteen states plus the District of Columbia that allow transgender people to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity, according to CNN. Surely we would have heard about sexual predators taking advantage of those protections by now, no?

h/t: QueertySeeds of LiteracyCNN


New York State Senate Republicans Kill Trans Protections Bill For 11th Year

For 11 years in a row, the New York state Assembly has approved legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.

And for the 11th year in a row, the Republican-controlled NY state Senate has killed that bill in committee. The legislation failed today on a party line 5-4 vote.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, was defeated today in the New York Senate Investigations & Government Operations Committee.

GENDA would add “gender identity or expression” to the language of the existing NYS Human Rights Law that prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, health care, housing, public transportation, public accommodations, and credit.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, the only openly LGBT member of the New York state Senate and the ranking Democrat on the committee, was disgusted.

“In 21st century New York State, it’s appalling that Senate Republicans would vote along party lines against GENDA,” said a statement from Hoylman’s office. “Human rights shouldn’t be a partisan issue – and they aren’t in other states.”

Hoylman lost no time pointing out that New Hampshire’s GOP-controlled legislature passed protections for LGBT folks this month. It’s now possible that New York will be the only state in the northeast without statewide protections for trans people.

"As the Trump Administration continues to roll back protections for LGBT Americans, New York has the obligation to protect its transgender citizens from discrimination and hate crimes,” Hoylman added. "Unfortunately, the State Senate failed miserably in its duties. Moving forward, I’ll continue to fight for passage of GENDA in a new State Senate after the midterms.”