New York City Enacts America’s Toughest Ban On Trans Discrimination

But do they go far enough?

New York City’s Human Rights Commission has updated laws banning discrimination based on gender identity and expression, reportedly making them the toughest in the country.

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Released Monday, the updated guidelines define what constitutes discrimination. Violations of the Human Rights Law include:

* Intentionally failing to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title. (For example: Repeatedly calling a trans woman “him” or “Mr” when she has made it clear that she prefers female pronouns.)

* Refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities, such as bathrooms or locker rooms, and participate in single-sex programs consistent with their gender identity. (For example, barring a transgender woman from a women’s restroom.)

* Enforcing dress codes, uniforms, and grooming standards that impose different requirements based on sex or gender. (For example, enforcing a policy that requires men to wear ties or women to wear skirts.)

* Failing to providing employee health benefits that cover gender-affirming care and reasonable accommodations for individuals undergoing transition (For example, time off for medical appointments and recovery).

Violators face penalties of up to $125,000 for violations, or up to $250,000 if its proven the violation is the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.

“New York has always been a diverse and welcoming city and our laws are designed to protect every New Yorker, regardless of their gender identity,'” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Today’s new guidelines strengthen those laws by ensuring that every transgender and gender non-conforming person in New York receives the dignity and respect they deserve.”

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Some 75% of New York’s 25,250 trans people reported harassment and mistreatment in the workplace, 20% were refused a home and 17% were refused medical care.

More than half (53%) report being harassed or mistreated in a restaurant, hotel, airport or other public accommodation.

“New York City has taken a major step toward ensuring that transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers can enjoy dignity, respect and access to opportunity in our city,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery