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New York Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Bill Killed in Committee

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) bill died in the New York state Senate Judiciary committee Wednesday. GENDA would have prohibited discrimination in New York based on gender identification or expression. The legislation failed to pass to a floor vote on a 12 to 11 vote where all Republicans and one Democrat on the committee voted against the bill. In response to the vote, State Senator Tom Duane, who sponsored the bill, told the New York Daily News “it is now yet again confirmed that the Senate is a cesspool of homophobia and transphobia.” The New York state Senate voted in December 2009 to kill a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state. Duane continued, “I believe that we should have brought GENDA through [the] Rules [Committee] and brought it right to the floor so as to deny the right-wing fringe the ability to organize against GENDA with their lies and distortions.” Opponents of the bill have focused on the issue of public restrooms and who would be allowed access to sex-segregated facilities under the legislation. Currently, individuals in New York can be legally discriminated against on the basis of real or perceived gender identity in housing, credit, and access to public facilities including restrooms, hospitals, hotels, and restaurants. Currently, New York state’s anti-discrimination law covers those discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. A 2010 GENDA Campaign report (see PDF) found that “20.7% of transgender New Yorkers have incomes less than $10,000 a year; one-third are or have been homeless; and 28.4% have experienced a serious physical or sexual assault due to transphobic or homophobic violence.”

Sources:

2010 GENDA Campaign; New York Daily News 6/8/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/3/10