By a 91-40 vote, the New York Assembly passed GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA, which would protect transgender people under the state's Human Rights Law. The vote came with bipartisan support. This is the third time GENDA has passed in the Assembly and unfortunately it has yet to pass in the more conservative Senate.
The Senate bill is being stalled in a committee whose membership includes Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr, the rabidly anti-gay Bronx Pentecostal minister who is the leading opponent of gay rights and marriage equality in the state. Diaz Sr. wants to add "anti-transgender rights" to that portfolio, Gay City News reports.
Another obstacle in the Senate could be Joseph Addabbo, the Queens Democrat who infuriated LGBT advocates when he voted against the marriage equality bill in December after enjoying "significant gay support" in his first Senate win in 2008. GCN adds: "Curiously, Addabbo voted for the city’s transgender civil rights measure while on the City Council in 2002." The freshman senator is being targeted by gay donors and activists for replacement.
In December, Gov. David Paterson issued an executive order covering state employees that bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
Only 13 states and the District of Columbia have laws to protect transgender people from employment, credit, public accommodation and housing discrimination. Several cities and counties in New York, including Rochester and New York City, have similar GENDA laws.