On Oct. 23 at the fall dinner for the Empire State Pride Agenda Governor Cuomo announced an executive order intended to protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment, services and other areas.
“The scourge of harassment and discrimination against transgender individuals is well-known — and has also has gone largely unanswered for too long,” Cuomo said at the October dinner in Manhattan, reported the New York Daily News. “We will not tolerate discrimination or harassment against transgender people anywhere in the state of New York — period.”
On Oct. 30 Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) called Cuomo’s action “an overreach” hinting that legal challenges to the executive order may be coming.
Insisting that it was not the issue of transgender identity per se that troubled him, Flanagan instead said it was the executive action taken by Cuomo. Flanagan commented, “…we have a very extensive budget and hearing process and all of these issues should be vetted with the Legislature.”
“Senator Flanagan had the opportunity to bring the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) to the Republican led Senate for discussion and a vote early last summer,” said Gay Alliance Executive Director Scott Fearing. “But instead of considering the Act the Senate members were excused for their summer vacation.
“I think that transgender citizens are their issue,” continued Fearing. “For 13 years Flanagan and others in the NY Senate have refused to allow the GENDA to come to the Senate floor for discussion or vote, despite regular passage by the State Assembly.
“Now, when the Governor tries to provide basic protections to NY residents, the Senate leadership is suddenly interested in talking about the issue.
“Currently transgender residents in NY State face a confusing mix of protections and rights based on where the individual happens to be.” stressed Fearing, “Employment protections, access to services and accommodations that transgender community members have in Rochester, are not in place once they leave the boundaries of the city. Cuomo’s action to ensure consistent state wide protections are the most sensible way to proceed.”
For Immediate Release
October 31, 2015
Contact: Scott Fearing
About the Gay Alliance
Founded in 1973, the Gay Alliance is a charitable non-profit based in Rochester, New York. As a civil rights and advocacy organization the Gay Alliance is a champion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) citizens, their families and friends. Gay Alliance programs include the nationally recognized LGBTQ Academy providing cultural competence training and consultation; the longest continually published LGBTQ community newspaper, The Empty Closet; Programs for LGBTQ Youth and Seniors; The Rochester LGBTQ Resource Center with the Rochester LGBTQ Library and Archives: and an art gallery.