New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday sent out a press release praising his own decision to block any publicly-funded travel to the great homophobic state of Indiana, which is under fire for passing a law that could allow businesses to refuse LGBT patrons for religious reasons.
"New York State has been, and will continue to be, a leader in ensuring that all LGBT persons enjoy full and equal civil rights,” Cuomo said in his announcement.
But Gov. Cuomo shouldn’t point fingers, considering his state has a pretty terrible record protecting transgender New Yorkers. Maybe he should have just said LGB, and left the T part out of the acronym.
The state of New York does not protect transgender people from discrimination when it pertains to housing, employment, hate crime laws, or health care.
The exact issues Governor Cuomo is criticizing in Indiana could happen in his state, to transgender people.
In fact, transgender people in New York aren’t protected from discrimination in “public accommodation areas,” according to the National Center for Transgender Equality. Public accommodations are establishments that provide goods and services to the public—which may include restaurants, gas stations, and retail stores.
Housing laws in the state of New York only prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation, not gender identity. Which means if you’re trans, landlords are free to discriminate and deny housing to you based on your gender identity.
And then there’s employment protections. Trans people in New York can get fired for no reason, according to an analysis from the Human Rights Campaign. The state of New York prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation only, leaving trans workers behind. To be fair, in 2009 then-Governor David Paterson signed an executive order protecting state workers from gender identity-based discrimination. But that executive order only protects state workers.
Guess who’s left out of hate crimes laws in the state? Trans people. New York state hate crimes laws address hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation only.
New York state’s Medicaid health care program, meant for low-income people, excludes transgender people from accessing care. The state program even denies trans and gender-nonconforming people from accessing routine and preventive care. It’s a troubling regulation considering transgender people live in poverty at four times the national average, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
The only good news here is that there’s still hope for transgender New Yorkers, thanks to a December 2014 memo sent out by Attorney General Eric Holder. His memo informed Department of Justice attorneys that sexism against transgender people is now encompassed under the sex discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Still it’d be nice if the governor pointing fingers did something to make sure his state laws explicitly protect gender identity based discrimination.