Mayor Lovely Warren and City Councilmember Matt Haag have signed an on-line petition in favor of GENDA (the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act), which will be delivered to the New York State Assembly and Senate on April 28, Equality and Justice Day, city officials stated.
The petition is currently available at www.cityofrochester.gov/GENDA .
Warren said the legislation will give transgender citizens across New York State the same protections they currently have in Rochester.
“Under current law, it is legal to discriminate against transgender people,” she stated. “That is just wrong. I am proud to live in a city that still exhibits the ideals of Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass, by protecting the rights of all citizens and visitors. I want to say the same about my state. Today, I am asking all of Rochester to join me, and the City Council, in demanding that the New York State Legislature pass GENDA.”
“It is hard to believe that, in the 21st century, we are still waging battles to provide every citizen of New York state with equal protection under the law, but that is the sad reality,” Councilman Haag added. “Once again, Rochester is positioned at the forefront of the equality movement. We must stand for fairness, and join the fight to ensure GENDA is passed this year.”
According to officials, Rochester is one of 11 New York jurisdictions that has a local non-discrimination law based on gender identity and expression, and those 11 jurisdictions cover 60 percent of New York’s population.
In addition, a 2010 survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that transgender people who were not covered by non-discrimination laws have experienced the following:
- 75 percent of transgender New Yorkers experienced harassment on the job;
- 20 percent lost their jobs, and a further 20 percent were denied promotions;
- 19 percent have been denied a home or apartment, and 18 percent have been homeless;
- 53 percent have been harassed or discriminated against in a place of public accommodation or service, such as a hotel or restaurant;
- 17 percent have been refused medical care;
- 75 percent of transgender children in kindergarten through 12th grade have been harassed and discriminated against in school, and 35 percent have been physically assaulted; and 41 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide.
The legislation has passed in the Assembly seven times, but consistently stalled in the Senate.
Several Democratic Monroe County and city officials currently have signed the petition.