The Associated Press reported Saturday that a new bill in New York's state legislature includes provisions to bar employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. If passed, a violation of the law would constitute a hate crime. Similar legislation has been introduced to the state assembly for several years by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates, but may now have enough Democratic support to pass, despite Republican opposition.
For transgender men and women, whose gender identity and expression may not match their anatomical sex, and for transsexual individuals who may be in the process of, or who may have completed gender reassignment surgery, discrimination is the leading cause of unemployment according to the the National Center for Transgender Equality, which found it to be double the national average. The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy reported that between 8 and 17 percent of trans men and women have experienced being terminated from a job or passed over for a promotion based on their gender identity or expression.
Transgender and transsexual individuals are often left with little recourse in these situations, since anti-discrimination laws do not always include provisions to include gender identity. According to Respect and Equality: Transsexual and Transgender Rights (2002) by Stephen Whittle, "[t]he trans community in the US cannot see a way out of the legal mess, which allows most of them to legally 'change sex' yet affords them no protection from discrimination in or dismissal from their jobs." Senator Daniel Squadron (D-NY), who will be sponsoring the state Senate bill is hopeful of its chances of passing. He has stated that "[p]eople are shocked you can lose your job, or your home or be denied a place in a restaurant because of sexual identity. No one thinks that's what New York should look like."