From the NYS Pride Agenda

GENDA could pass this winter – take action now!

Last week when we wrote to you about the Senate marriage vote, we told you we’d be reaching out again soon about our plans for 2010. Today, we’re updating you on our legislative priority for this winter: to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA).

GENDA would amend the state’s human rights law to include anti-discrimination protections based upon gender identity and expression, providing crucial civil rights protections for transgender New Yorkers by banning discrimination in housing, employment, credit, public accommodations, and other areas of everyday life. It would also add gender identity and expression to the state’s bias crime laws to help protect transgender people from violence. Last month, Governor Paterson signed an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression for state employees—but our work isn’t over until ALL New Yorkers are protected by a comprehensive law banning discrimination against transgender people.

We need you to take action NOW. With just two phone calls to Senators, you can help us win:

1. Call Senator Tom Duane, lead sponsor of GENDA, at (518) 455-2451. Ask Senator Duane to bring the bill to the floor for a vote in February.

2. Call your own Senator to tell them that you expect them to bring GENDA to the floor and vote in support of it. You can find your State Senator’s Albany phone number here.

Here are some talking points for your calls:

1. Remember to tell your Senator the number of the GENDA bill (S.2406).

2. Ask your Senator to vote for GENDA, and if you are able to attend a legislative meeting, ask to meet with him or her to discuss the urgency of passing this bill right away.

3. Tell them about the urgent need for GENDA:

  • Due to difficulty with job discrimination, one-fifth of transgender New Yorkers have incomes below $10,000 a year.
  • 28% of transgender New Yorkers have experienced a serious physical or sexual assault motivated by hate.

4.  Remind them that GENDA enjoys broad support statewide, including:

  • 78% of New York voters
  • Unions representing 2.1 million working New Yorkers
  • 30 Fortune 500 companies based in cities like Rochester, Corning, New York City and White Plains
  • 547 clergy and lay leaders representing over 20 different denominations

GENDA has enough support to be passed by the Senate and the Assembly and signed into law within the next few weeks. The Assembly has passed GENDA twice already. The remaining hurdle is the Senate, where our public scorecard shows that GENDA has the support it needs to pass. The time is NOW to kick off our final push to bring GENDA to the floor of the Senate for a vote to end discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

Working together, we can win! Start making those phone calls now!