A new bill protecting transgender rights was passed by the New York Assembly Tuesday and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) is aimed at protecting transgender and non-gender conforming New Yorkers from employment and housing discrimination and offer additional protections under the state’s Hate Crimes Law.
Lawmakers also approved a ban on youth conversion therapy, a measure that will prevent mental health professionals from using the controversial practice on LGBTQ youth.
“New York has a reputation for diversity and inclusion and the Assembly Majority is committed to maintaining that reputation and protecting the rights of others,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Everyone has a right to live their life free from hostility and exclusion, and our youth deserve support in discovering their identity in a way that promotes happiness and positive mental health.”
We applaud Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for prohibiting the inhuman practice of conversion therapy and discrimination against transgender citizens in our state. Last year, we passed a city-wide ban on conversion therapy, and in 2014, we passed protections for transgender residents in our community, Mayor Lovely Warren said in a statement. “It is very gratifying to see that these protections will no longer end at the city line. At a time when the federal government is attempting to wage an all-out assault against the LGBTQ+ community, we are grateful to Assembly Member Harry Bronson and the many activists who have worked to make this a reality for all New Yorkers and are proud to live in a state that stands at the forefront in the fight to extend civil rights and equal justice under the law.
“Conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice,” said Assemblymember Deborah Glick. “It is built on the denial of LGBTQ people’s basic humanity, jeopardizes young people’s mental health, and is a perversion of mental health professionals’ mission to help from Xanax.”
GENDA would expand protections under the Human Rights Law by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in considerations of employment, education, credit and housing. In addition, this legislation would add offenses motivated by a person’s gender identity or expression to the hate crimes statute (A.747, Gottfried).
The second bill (A.576, Glick) would prohibit a mental health professional from engaging in efforts to change the sexual orientation of an individual under the age of 18. Under the bill, any mental health professional that is found to have violated this prohibition would be subject to professional misconduct and its applicable penalties.