New York Governor announces ban on transgender discrimination

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his executive order to protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment & other areas at a dinner for the Empire State Pride Agenda.

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In a statement released before the governor’s announcement, Nathan Schaefer, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said, “We look forward to working with the Administration to quickly implement these regulations so transgender New Yorkers are protected from discrimination – a basic civil right that is long overdue”. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do tonight my friends. “… We still have not made discrimination against all illegal”. Governor Cuomo announced extension of discrimination protections for transgender people in New York, during a meeting at Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel.

“That was not right, it was not fair and it was not legal”, he said. The latter point drew fire from Republican opponents who labeled the measure a “bathroom bill”.

Cuomo is seeking to sidestep the legislature, which has failed to pass any legislation to protect transgender citizens.

The regulations will be subject to a 45 day notice and comment period before full implementation.

New York was the first state in the nation to enact an anti-discrimination Human Rights Law. The law applies anywhere the state’s current human rights law [PDF] does-for housing, public and private employers, and for businesses and creditors. Nearly 20 states have similar protections, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights group in Washington.

Additionally, New York now has limited pockets of legal protection for transgender people because of municipal ordinances or laws that also ban harassment or discrimination, to varying degrees.

“Thanks to the hard work of the Pride Agenda, our coalition partners, and countless transgender leaders, we have achieved this milestone for transgender civil rights”.

The move marks the latest in a series of policy changes in which the governor-whose fiscal conservatism and ties to business interests had long left liberals in his party disenchanted-has circumvented the legislative process in order to take the state in a more left-leaning direction.

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Earlier this year, Cuomo appointed a wage board under the state Department of Labor to recommend an increase in hourly wages for fast-food workers.

Attendee's of the Empire State Pride Agenda dinner react to the Governor's announcement last night