New York Governor David Paterson extended protections against job discrimination to transgender state employees today. Executive Order No. 33 protects state employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. This is an important step in bringing equality to transgender New Yorkers and Governor Paterson deserves recognition for his support and action on this important issue.
New York joins eight other states in extending protections against discrimination on the basis of gender identity via an executive or administrative order (Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania). The downside about these nine states is that only public employees are protected by this type of action from their respective Governors. Twelve states and the District of Columbia currently protect both public and private employees from gender identity discrimination.
There is no comparable state law in New York for the protection of private sector employees. The Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) has twice passed the State Assembly but has stalled in the State Senate. We join Governor Paterson and state legislative leaders in calling for prompt action to pass GENDA. New Yorkers – and all Americans who are currently unprotected by state civil rights laws – have waited too long for these basic legal protections.