In April, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) cleared the New York State Assembly (A04226) for the sixth time. As the bill awaits action in the Senate (S00195), I urge all BALCONY members and allies to support basic civil rights for all New Yorkers.

Transgender people do not currently enjoy specific protections under federal and state anti-discrimination laws. There are currently 58,000 New Yorkers who identify as transgender, and the current laws mean that any of those people can be fired or denied housing because of their gender identity. 

As a board member of the Empire Pride Agenda, I consider this an egregious violation of basic human rights, but it also doesn't make much economic sense. A recent report by UCLA's Williams Institute estimates several high costs of gender identity discrimination to New York taxpayers.

Some of the findings:

*    Employment discrimination costs the State of New York more than $1 million annually in Medicaid expenditures.

*    Housing discrimination in the State of New York may cost from $475,000 to $5.9 million annually in federal and state housing program expenditures and other costs related to homelessness.

*    Income loss from gender identity discrimination means New York State lost out on some $2.7 million in income revenue, last year.


These findings are troubling. It's bad enough that the transgender community is not currently provided the basic civil rights that nearly every other American and New Yorker is guaranteed. But these findings reveal that our state's small businesses and its taxpayers - you and I - are wasting much-needed money on perpetuating inequality.  

New York's current Human Rights laws prohibit discrimination based on age, sex, creed, national origin, sexual orientation and sex. GENDA would add the category of "gender identity and expression" to the current law, thus banning this type of discrimination.


Seven cities and three counties in New York State have passed similar legislation. In the not-too-distant future, we're going to look back on this as a very basic civil rights issue, one that shouldn't have been controversial. Let's make sure New York is on the right side of history.

BALCONY business and labor groups, please sign the Empire Pride petition backing civil rights for all New Yorkers. By doing so, your organization will join a growing list of New York businesses and labor unions that support equality for everybody.


Alan Lubin,


Empire Pride Agenda, Board Member








4 West 43rd Street, Suite 405

New York, NY 10036 

(212) 219-7777 


Lou Gordon, Director




Alan Lubin, Co-Chair Labor
Robert M. Hayes, Co-Chair Business, Sr. VP, Universal American Corp.
Catherine M. Abate, Co-Chair Non-Profit, President/CEO, Community HealthCare Network

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Anthony Potenza, Executive Director, New York Labor Health Care Alliance
Anita Kartalopoulos, Partner, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP
Cynthia D. DiBartolo, Tigress Financial Partners
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