In recent months, New York State has witnessed an unheralded effort to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), including campaigns from Housing Works, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the Empire State Pride Agenda to ensure that transgender New Yorkers are treated with dignity and respect. But as many advocates have pointed out, the push for GENDA has yet to include many women’s advocacy groups, though the two coalitions share many common goals.
For one, both coalitions want to end housing discrimination, ensure equal pay, strengthen order of protection laws (reinforcing restraining orders), and stop sexual harassment against women, and both are committed to equality. In fact, the Transgender Advocates of the Capital Region notes, “The reforms being proposed in the women’s equality initiative would do much to recognize and protect the inherent and long overdue rights to which women are entitled.”
However, the New York for Women’s Equality Coalition and its “10 point plan for women’s equality” does not explicitly include transgender women, though transgender women face extremely high rates of physical violence, harassment, intimate partner violence, and discrimination when seeking employment, housing, and health care.
For these reasons, we are supporting the Transgender Advocates of the Capital Region’s petition that asks the Women’s Equality Coalition to add gender identity or expression nondiscrimination protections to its agenda priorities. The group is spearheading aChange.org petition that asks for the Coalition to equally weigh the rights of all women in New York, including transgender women.
The Transgender Advocates of the Capital region is a community-based advocacy organization dedicated to fighting for the civil rights and the social advancement of transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers and is composed of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals as well as allies.
We hope that the Women’s Equality Coalition will join the call for ensuring that gender expression and identity expression discrimination is a true policy priority for all women and for all New Yorkers, and works to help usher in a true era of equality in New York.