New York Governor Andrew Cuomo instructs administration to extend protections to transgender people

Speaking at the Empire State Pride Agenda’s annual gala, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that he will instruct his administration to issue regulations extending protections in existing New York  State anti-discrimination law to cover transgender people.

The new regulations will extend existing protections in housing, employment and public accommodations to transgender people. They will be published next week and will become state law after a 45 day review.

New York joins nearly 20 other states in protecting transgender people from discrimination, despite the state legislature’s repeated failure to pass GENDA, the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act.

Todd Sears, Principal of Out Leadership, said: “We applaud Governor Cuomo’s action. Discrimination is bad for business, and has no place in New York. With this success, we can refocus our efforts to extend nondiscrimination law to the 30 other states where LGBT people are not yet protected.”

Dru Levasseur, Director of Lambda Legal’s Transgender Rights Project, said: “This is a very welcome step —these rules will provide guidance and help alleviate some of the very real problems transgender New Yorkers experience. We thank the Cuomo Administration for working so hard to make this step happen. There has been a long-standing gap in spelling out explicit protections that bar discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

“Transgender people in New York experience high rates of discrimination and violence and are turned away from jobs, rejected by health care providers and are denied a range of services,” Levasseur continued. “These new regulations will make clear discrimination is unacceptable.”

Read more coverage in The New York Times.