Skip to main content

GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-discrimination Act, a bill to add gender variance to the list of protected statuses in the New York State Human Rights Law, was approved by the Assembly for the fifth time on Monday, gaining bipartisan support.

This is an important and overdue protection of human rights.  The experience of transgender individuals, and the discrimination they face, are unique, and should be specifically identified and unambiguously rejected in our State's civil rights laws, just like discrimination based on age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, race, disability, or ethnicity.

This bill has been in the Senate for 11 years; it is time for New York to stand up.

--Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of bill, A5039

Yes, five times the State Senate in New York has let the bill die.  I'm not sure why we expect better this time, but we do.

In case some of the Senators don't know what is going on, the New York Civil Liberties Union has produced a report which documents harassment of and discrimination towards transpeople in the state.  The report, entitled, Advancing Transgender Civil Rights in New York: The Need for GENDA (2012), is available here.

A 2009 national survey that included 531 transgender people in New York found that 74 percent reported harassment or mistreatment on the job and 20 percent lost a job or were denied a promotion. In addition, 53 percent were verbally harassed or denied service at hotels and restaurants and 49 percent reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance. Also, 18 percent had become homeless because of their transgender status and 27 percent were either denied an apartment or were evicted. And 17 percent were refused medical care due to their gender expression, the survey said.
There have been good developments on the federal level, but we still need GENDA to make the law crystal-clear, uniform and consistent in New York.

--Melissa Goodman, the NYCLU's senior litigation and policy counsel

As slowly as it all started, it ended so quickly.  Cece McDonald chose to accept a plea deal.  She plead guilty to 2nd degree manslaughter rather than proceed with her trial on second degree murder charges.  Indications are that she will be sentenced to 3 years and 5 months on June 4, having already spent 11 months in jail.


All Beth Scott knew was that her physician ordered her to get a mammogram.  So she had one in June, 2010.  But when payment for the procedure was submitted to her insurer, AETNA, coverage was denied…because Scott is a transwoman.

Scott, 44, has worked for the past 11 years as a data integrity specialist for a high-tech company.  Her insurance comes through her employer.

She appealed the decision, with the aid of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.  AETNA says they denied the mammogram because her policy excludes treatments "related to a sex change".

But TLDEF argued that the insurance company's interpretation was "overbroad" and should apply only to medical treatments prescribed to change an individual's sex characteristics.  It said that a mammogram had nothing to do with a sex change.
AETNA's reasoning is not unique.  Insurers have often used the same reasoning to deny health care coverage to transgender people.
Transgender people should have their health care needs covered by insurance just like everyone else.

But as long as exclusions remain in place, Ms. Scott's case makes clear that they cannot be used to deny other medically necessary care simply because someone is transgender.

--Noah Lewis, TLDEF staff attorney

I am really pleased and glad it went smoothly.  It's something that gives me hope -- by the fact that Aetna apologized and reimbursed me.  Their willingness to treat transgender people is a positive sign.

--Beth Scott

The settlement clarified that such denials will not happen in the future and includes a provision to allow transpeople to change the sex on their insurance records by providing an amended birth certificate or drivers license.


And finally, in Hillsboro, OH, a superintendent dismissed a transgender student-teacher because the student-teacher dared to speak openly with his students about being transgender after the students started referring to him as a he/she. The superintendent called that a breach of ethics.

We expect all employees or anyone who comes into our district to be sure to understand the Ohio Code of Ethics for Ohio Educators. Any violation of that we take seriously because we want to protect the well-being of our students and that we protect the educational integrity of Hillsboro City Schools.

--Superintendent Rick Early

When asked by the newspaper to cite the part of the ethics code that was violated, Early refused to do so.

The student-teacher, who is a student at Wilmington College, doesn't plan to file a complaint, although this is a fairly clear violation of Title IX, which

...prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes on the basis of failing to conform with gender stereotypes.

Originally posted to TransAction on Fri May 04, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site