After decades of advocacy, NYS Senate passes monumental transgender civil rights law


SAGE celebrates New York State in finally passing explicit legal protections for transgender and gender nonconforming people, and for banning conversion therapy
[New York, NY] – Today, in a pivotal and long-awaited moment for transgender and gender nonconforming people, the New York State Senate passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). GENDA amends state law to explicitly add gender identity and gender expression to the list of protected categories under the state’s civil rights laws, providing important legal protections for transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers.

Although New York State has had legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation since 2002, transgender people and activists across the state have fought for the past 17 years to gain explicit protections under state law. Today, they are finally gaining the rights and dignity they deserve.

The legislature also passed a bill banning conversion therapy, an arcane and dangerous practice that has caused great harm and suffering to a large number of LGBT people—LGBT elders, in particular—for decades.

“SAGE salutes all the indefatigable transgender activists and leaders who have fought for decades, through blood, sweat, and tears, for their civil rights. It is their tenacity and leadership that were instrumental in GENDA finally becoming law. We applaud Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried for their leadership on these bills and their tremendous work in pushing this bill forward to completion, as well as past bill sponsors former Senators Tom Duane and Daniel Squadron,” said SAGE CEO Michael Adams. “We especially extend our deepest gratitude to all those transgender elder pioneers who have fought tirelessly to once and for all put an end to the dangerous practice of conversion therapy.”

Adams continued, “SAGE applauds New York State for once again taking up its mantle as a leader in civil rights. This is a banner year for the LGBT community, in particular our LGBT elders, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Though it has taken decades to pass these protections, it is fitting that during this historic year, these protections for our transgender and gender nonconforming elders will finally be the law in the Empire State.”

Although today is a monumental victory, there is still much more to be done to ensure full equality for all LGBT people across the country. To end discrimination nationwide, SAGE has joined civil rights advocates, religious leaders, labor groups, health organizations, and businesses in calling on the U.S. Congress to pass the Equality Act.

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SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates SAGENet, a growing network of affiliates in the United States.

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