Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is it finally going to pass?

I read a very good piece of news this morning which, if accurate, illustrates a very good chance that the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) will pass and be signed into law this year! According to the Housing Works, an organization, "committed to ending the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness,"Senator Bill Stachowski of the 58th NY Senate district (which includes the city of Buffalo) has committed to voting yes on GENDA. That brings the number of committed yes votes to 32, the minimum required to pass the bill.

I am very grateful to Senator Stachowski for making this commitment, especially in light of his active opposition to same sex marriage rights, something I think he's wrong about. My senator, Catherine Young (57th district), is sadly not part of the list of those who will vote yes. In a written reply to a phone call I made to her office regarding this bill (S2406) she took the opposition's tactic, one that has no evidence behind it, of making it all about bathroom and locker room access without acknowledging the complete absence of evidence that similar laws have caused problems in such spaces (well, maybe some problems for those who would like to hold on to their supposed special right to discriminate against people that make them feel icky). She also ignores the real issues GENDA is designed to correct: harmful and prejudicial discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in employment, housing and public accommodations. I'll write her office again with hopes to convince her of her error. We'll see if she supports prejudice and discrimination or not.

The Housing Works blog mentions a June 1st lobby day but doesn't provide much specific information about that., only a contact name, email and phone number. The don't mention Buffalo or any other western New York locality so I wonder if I'll have a chance to go. I also note that nothing about this is on the Empire State Pride Agenda website nor have I heard any announcement from them yet. I've emailed them for confirmation/comment.

Stay tuned! This thing could be HUGE!!

UPDATE: I emailed ESPA and they don't seem to know anything about this. I also called Sen Stachowski’s office in Albany and was unable to get confirmation of his commitment to vote YES on S2406. His receptionist mentioned his previous opposition, and yeah, she talked about bathroom predators using the law to get away with crimes (sheesh!) but I reminded her that was just scare mongering and that such things have never happened in the places that already have similar laws. So, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

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