Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday
announced that he would take executive action extending
non-discrimination protections to transgender New Yorkers.
Cuomo, a Democrat, announced his
decision at a dinner held by Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's
largest LGBT rights advocate.
According to The New York
Times, the governor will direct the State Division of Human
Rights to issue regulations clarifying that a 1945 law which
prohibits discrimination based on sex extends to transgender people.
“Transgender individual deserve the
same civil rights that protect them from discrimination,” Cuomo
said. “In 2015, it is clear that the fair legal interpretation and
definition of a person's sex includes gender identity and gender
LGBT rights activists praised the move.
“This critically important step by
Governor Cuomo is not only consistent with case law, but is the moral
choice to protect thousands of transgender New Yorkers and visitors,”
HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “We congratulate
the Governor on his leadership and vision on LGBT equality which has
and will continue to inspire the nation.”
“As we've painfully witnessed again
and again this year, transgender people face epidemic rates of
violence, harassment, and discrimination in this country,” said
Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center.
“Explicit protections based on gender identity and expression, like
those New York is adopting and which 19 other states have in place,
are a critical part of creating a society where all people can
survive and thrive.”
Legislation to address such issues –
the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act, or GENDA – has
repeatedly stalled in the New York Senate, which is controlled by
HRC said that the move makes New York
the 20th state to explicitly protect transgender people