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New York Law Adds Protections For Gender Identity And Expression

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - A much talked about new state law went into effect Monday. GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act), adds gender identity and expression as a protected class in New York State’s human rights and hate crimes laws. The act also prohibits discrimination based gender identity and expression.

Those are protections that Assemblyman Harry Bronson says are definitely needed.

“It would protect individuals, in connection with employment, in connection with housing, and banking and indeed all aspects of their lives,” said the Rochester Democrat. “So that that no matter where they live whether they’re here in the city of Rochester or in the rural part of the state they will have anti-discrimination protections.”

One of the more controversial parts of the act is the provision that people can choose which bathroom they use based on the sex they identify with, instead of the one they were born with.

Bronson says doesn’t seen this as a problem and says education and awareness will lead to acceptance of people from different walks of life.

“This was creating truly a second class citizenry. And we just can’t do that. With the law now being effective. There will be consequences if a lawyer a bank or a landlord were to discriminate.”

Tamara Leigh is the spokesperson for the Out Alliance in Rochester. She says today was the end of a long fight.

“Just thousands and thousands of people who were very seen and very unseen fighting for this next measure of equality so it was a phenomenally moving experience and tremendous step for the LGBQ+ community,” Leigh said.

Bronson legislation shows that New York has come a long way. He also lauds the state’s decision to ban conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is when a therapist attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation

“Every human being has dignity,” said Bronson. “And both of these bills the GENDA Bill and the conversion therapy ban are bills that say to individuals those demographics that they have value and their dignity should be recognized.”