Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act passes yet again in the NY Assembly

Bill A0446, the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) was passed by the New York State Assembly, for the 6th time, last Tuesday.  My Assembly representative, Andrew Goodell, voted against it.  This is what he voted against (lifted from Autumn Sandeen's post in TransAdvocate, "7 Goals of Trans Activism" because she says it better than I could):

Employment antidiscrimination protections.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)/Task Force report Injustice at Every Turn A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, trans and gender non-conforming respondents experienced double the rate of unemployment: Survey respondents experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general population at the time of the survey, with rates for people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate.
And, trans and gender non-conforming respondents experienced widespread mistreatment at work: Ninety percent (90%) of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it. Forty-seven percent (47%) said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming, and twenty-six percent (26%) had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming.

Housing antidiscrimination protections.

According to the previously referenced NCTE/Task Force report, 19% of surveyed trans and gender non-conforming respondents reported having been refused a home or apartment and 11% reported being evicted because of their gender identity/expression. And, one-fifth (19%) of trans respondents reported experiencing homelessness at some point in their lives because they were transgender or gender non-conforming.

Public accommodation antidiscrimination protections.

Public accommodation for transgender people isn’t primarily about bathrooms. It’s often instead about being able to buy a cup of coffee and a cheeseburger at your local restaurant; it’s often instead about being able to go to government agency and be treated as a full citizen.
And again, according to the previously referenced NCTE/Task Force report, fifty-three percent (53%) of trans and gender non-conforming respondents reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies.
Also, one fifth (22%) were denied equal treatment by a government agency or official; twenty-nine percent (29%) reported police harassment or disrespect; and twelve percent (12%) had been denied equal treatment or harassed by judges or court officials.

In addition, GENDA contains protection for trans people under the state's hate crime laws.  Mr Goodell voted against that too.

When I spoke to him last year about GENDA he replied with the same, tired, old right wing talking points about bathrooms and locker rooms and how the definition of gender identity was too vague, etc, etc., as if these arguments had any kind of valid logic behind them.  I got the message, in no uncertain terms, that he doesn't care if I'm victimized by irrational prejudice and harmful discrimination.  He doesn't care that trans people living under his jurisdiction are vulnerable to egregious harm for which they have little to no legal recourse.  He doesn't care.

When I spoke with my state senator, Cathy Young, last year, I got exactly the same message.

So, while it's ironic that  I was unable to attend the 2013 Empire State Pride Agenda's Equality & Justice Day lobbying effort in Albany this year because I can't afford the gas money to drive to Albany, or even to Buffalo to catch the ESPA bus, I doubt it would have done any good in swaying my legislative representatives.  They need to be fired.  Vote them out!


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