Governor Andrew Cuomo Announces New Protections for Transgender New Yorkers

Governor CuomoTLDEF Applauds Action; Reiterates Need for GENDA

October 26, 2015 - TLDEF responded to news that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will issue new regulations to protect transgender New Yorkers from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit. The governor said the new protections will extend the reach of the New York State Human Rights Law that already bars discrimination on the basis of sex and disability. “[T]he fair legal interpretation and definition of a person’s sex includes gender identity and gender expression,” the governor said. A statement from the governor’s office also read in part: “These regulations affirm that all transgender individuals are protected under the State’s Human Rights Law, and all public and private employers, housing providers, businesses, creditors and others should know that discrimination against transgender persons is unlawful and will not be tolerated anywhere in the State of New York.”

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“We applaud Governor Cuomo for taking this important executive action to ban discrimination against transgender New Yorkers. With the State Senate’s continued failure to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), these regulations are expected to give transgender residents protections that they have been lacking for far too long.

“Through these vital regulations, transgender people can no longer be fired from their jobs, thrown out of their homes and denied basic public services just because of who they are. These protections are long past due and we commend the Governor for making this a priority in the face of continued inaction on GENDA by the Senate. Transgender people in New York have suffered under existing law and this bold step will help improve their lives moving forward.

“Governor Cuomo’s leadership in issuing these rules provides a significant remedy for the state’s lack of comprehensive legislation to protect transgender people. While we strongly commend his executive action, we still urge state lawmakers to make GENDA a priority, as it would formally add “gender identity and expression” to to the text of the existing Human Rights Law, and also expand New York’s hate crimes law to bring transgender people within its scope. Nineteen other states have passed laws that protect their transgender residents from discrimination. It is time for New York to pass GENDA and become the 20th.”

Governor Cuomo’s new regulations will be published in the New York State Register and will then be subject to a 45-day public comment period.