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New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy
24 W. 25th St., 9th floor New York, NY 10010 Tel: 212-675-3288, x266 Fax: 212-675-3466  

 NYAGRA news release April 24, 2002

NYC Council Passes Transgender Rights Bill  

New York, NY, April 24, 2002 – The New York City Council passed Int. No. 24 today by a vote of 45-5 (with one abstention), following passage yesterday of the transgender anti-discrimination bill in the General Welfare Committee. First introduced as Int. No. 754 in June 2000, the bill was reintroduced in January 2002. If signed into law as expected by Mayor Bloomberg, the legislation would amend New York City human rights law to add the phrase ‘gender identity or statement,’ the first significant amendment of the law since the inclusion of sexual orientation in 1987; enactment would also make New York the largest city in the United States to explicitly protect transgendered people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. 

The Council members are acting upon a recommendation from a legislative work group convened by the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) – in partnership with the Empire State Pride Agenda – in October 1999 to study the problem of discrimination against transgendered and gender-variant people in New York City. That group includes the Council’s three openly lesbian or gay members – Margarita Lopez, Christine Quinn, and Phil Reed – as well as the bill’s lead sponsor, Bill Perkins – who has been a strong supporter of New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. In addition to the bill’s primary sponsors, Intro 24 is being co-sponsored by 23 other Council members, including Speaker Gifford Miller and Councilmember Bill DeBlasio who, as chair of the General Welfare Committee, chaired yesterday’s public hearing on the bill. 

“We in NYAGRA are deeply gratified by the support of the Speaker and the Councilmembers who voted overwhelmingly in favor of this landmark legislation,” said Pauline Park, coordinator of the legislative work group on gender-based discrimination that led the campaign for Int. No. 24. “Today represents a historic turning point for the transgender community here in New York and nationally. Once this bill is signed into law by the mayor, transgendered and gender-variant people will be able to claim their full dignity as human beings, and they will have full access to legal redress for discrimination in New York City.” Added Park, “The board of directors of NYAGRA would like to commend Councilmember Bill DeBlasio for his leadership as chair of the committee in moving the bill to a vote yesterday as well as commending the Speaker for moving this to a vote on the floor of the Council today. 

“The anticipated enactment of Intro 24 by the New York City Council should provide impetus for passage of transgender rights legislation in cities and counties upstate,” said Moonhawk River Stone, co-chair of NYAGRA. As a professional psychotherapist in private practice in Albany, Stone described the deleterious effects of discrimination on transgendered people in his testimony at yesterday’s hearing. The City of Rochester has already adopted transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination provisions in its human rights statute, as has Suffolk County; and the City of Ithaca has added ‘gender presentation’ to its local hate crimes law. 

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