On April 30 the New York state Assembly approved the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) by a vote of 84-46.  The bill (S195/A4226) would prohibit discrimination against transgender New Yorkers in the areas of housing, employment, credit and public accommodations, while expanding New York’s hate crimes law to include crimes against transgender individuals.  New Yorkers have been protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation since 2003.

This is the sixth consecutive year that GENDA has passed the Assembly.  In past years, the Senate has refused to take action on the bill.  The bill currently awaits action in the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee.  The legislative session ends on June 30.

Until the Senate passes GENDA to unify anti-discrimination law statewide, New York will remain an unfair patchwork of uneven anti-discrimination protections:

In New York, a patchwork of protections is on the books, since New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton and Syracuse have GENDA-type laws as do Westchester, Suffolk and Tompkins Counties. However, this lack of consistency means that, for example, a transgender person is protected at home in Suffolk County but has no basic rights across the border in Nassau County where he or she works.

Today Empire State Pride Agenda released the first video and radio ads as part of a statewide advocacy campaign supporting the passage of GENDA.  From the e-mail announcing the launch:

Today we’re launching our first online video, starring Joanne Borden of Nassau County, Long Island, a WWII veteran and grandmother who shares her story and points out the inconsistencies in our state’s laws:

“If I go from Suffolk County and cross the border into Nassau County or from New York City I immediately lose protection from discrimination.”

Joanne’s granddaughter, Nicole, gets it right:

“My grandmother deserves all the same rights as any other person in America.”

It’s unacceptable that in 2013 any New Yorker can be being fired, evicted or denied service simply for being who they are. Without these basic protections, thousands of New Yorkers live in fear and lack basic civil rights and equal protection under the law. Watch Joanne’s story and get involved – contact your State Senator for GENDA and make a contribution to keep our media campaign going.

New York is the home of Stonewall and Seneca Falls, but lags behind 16 other states – including places like Nevada – when it comes to protecting its transgender residents. Our state must reclaim its place as a leader in fairness, justice and equality. Albany must listen to the voices of nearly four fifths of New Yorkers who want them to finally pass GENDA this session. Our robust coalition will not rest until all New Yorkers are fully protected from legal discrimination.

Learn more about the campaign here.  Watch New York Citizens For Transgender Rights‘s musical plea to the New York Senate below the fold.