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Local transgender rights advocates applaud passage of GENDA legislation

Ellen Abbott
Mallory Livingston, founder of Transgender Alliance of Central NY

Local gender rights advocates are applauding passage in the state legislature this week of the transgender rights bill known as GENDA.

Mallory Livingston, a Syracuse Attorney and founder of the local group Transgender Alliance, has been personally advocating for GENDA for seven years now.

"This bill being passed is a kind of note of hope during a time for trans people where there seems to be a shortage of hope," said Livingston.

First introduced in 2003, the GENDA legislation has passed the Democratic-controlled Assembly several times, but was always blocked by the Republican-controlled state Senate.

Now that Democrats have control of the Senate, the legislation passed easily. It prevents employers and housing providers from discriminating against New Yorkers on the basis of gender identity or expression.  It will make it easier on attorneys like Livingston, who represents trans clients, currently basing cases on the law that bans discrimination on the basis of sex.

"I would have to make the attenuated argument that sex discrimination is the same as discrimination against a trans person. I think it’s a solid argument, but if they disagree, now there’s no argument, I can show them this statute, it says gender identity and that’s that."

The bill also includes a ban on gay conversion therapy ban. It now goes to Gov. Cuomo, who is expected to sign it into law.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.