New York

LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in the States

New York
Statewide protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation; Transgender New Yorkers protected by 2015 executive order but not by state statute
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LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in New York:

Non-discrimination laws in New York provide explicit, comprehensive protections for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people – in employment, housing, and public accommodations. These statutes do not protect from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, although Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order in 2015 extending some protections to transgender New Yorkers. Now, advocates continue pushing to ensure that ALL New Yorkers – including those who are transgender – are protected from discrimination by state statute.

The Latest on LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in New York:

Legislators have continually introduced the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act for over ten years, which would provide comprehensive non-discrimination protections for transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Each time, it has passed the General Assembly, but has failed in the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee, most recently in 2017 when six lawmakers voted against it.

History of LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in New York

  • June 28, 1969: A raid by NYPD’s Public Morals Division occurs at Stonewall Inn, one of New York City’s most famous gay hotspots. Marsha P. Johnson, a self-identified drag queen of color, throws a shot glass at a mirror claiming, “I got my civil rights!” This starts an event that will become known as the Stonewall riots, a watershed moment in history where LGBTQ people fought back against police discrimination. This event inspires the nation’s first gay pride parades in the 1970’s.
  • 2003: The Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act is signed into law, preventing lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from being discriminated against in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
  • December 16, 2009: Governor David Paterson issues an executive order banning discrimination based on gender identity in state employment.
  • October 22, 2015: Governor Andrew Cuomo announces that he will direct the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) to enforce regulations banning harassment and discrimination against transgender individuals in employment, housing, education, access to credit, and public accommodations in New York. On January 20, 2016, the regulations take effect.

Municipalities With Non-Discrimination Protections

  • City of Albany
  • City of Binghamton
  • City of Buffalo
  • City of Ithaca
  • City of New York
  • City of Rochester
  • City of Syracuse

Active Litigation

Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc.

Case Concerning Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation Under Title VII

Key Date: May 29, 2018 • Cert. Petition Filed with U.S. Supreme Court
Status: Cert. Petition Pending Before U.S. Supreme Court
Legal Team: Gregory Antollino
Type: Employment Discrimination

Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. is a case concerning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. After revealing his sexual orientation to a customer at the skydiving business where he worked on Long Island, NY, Don Zarda was fired.

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