GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act)
By Aidan Maisonave
I recently sat in on an Empire State Pride Agenda meeting in ALbany and listened to what everyone there had to say regarding the GENDA bill – Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act). By everyone, I mean representatives from different organizations around New York State looking to make a difference by doing what they can to get this bill passed in New York State. For those of you who weren’t even aware of this GENDA bill or who don’t even know what it’s about, not to worry, you are not alone. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act is a bill that would protect people who identify as trans or who express their gender as something that is different from the gender they were assigned at birth. Current human rights laws are already in place that protect people in regards to housing, public accommodations, education, jobs…etc, based on their race, age, gender and sexual orientation. But nowhere in that law does it include a person’s gender identity. There are those of us who have had inadequate medical care, have been discriminated against trying to book a hotel room or eating out at a restaurant. We have been harassed at school or fired from work, all because of how we express our gender identity. Transgender people face discrimination on a daily basis, and suffer the injustice silently. Well, it is now time to break that silence. It’s time to make a stand and urge the New York State Legislature to get this bill passed. Write to your senator. Don’t know who that is? Check out this link to find out. This is right off the Empire State Pride Agenda website. The website also has many other helpful resources: what to say to your senator, how to talk to elected officials and other ways you can get involved. If you or someone you now has a story regarding discrimination faced because of gender identity, I invite you to share your voice with your elected official. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward your information to the appropriate member of ESPA. If these options seem a bit daunting to you, that’s ok. You can help out even by just spreading the word about this bill and informing others to get involved. Let’s not let another year, month, hour, or second, pass without having the protection of this bill made into law. There is still work to be done.