Do you believe that the law should protect you from discrimination and harassment?
Do you believe every man and woman deserves this protection?
Do you believe people of every age/creed/ and race deserves this?
Do you believe every gay/ straight/ bi person deserves this?
I hope so. Fortunately the Human Rights Act provides this protection. Can you think of any reason why a person wouldn’t deserve this protection? Maybe because they murdered a child? Maybe because they are a terrorist? Maybe because they identify as a different gender than what they were born as? No, that last one would be absurd. Right?
In New York State, the bill excludes gender identity. That means any transgender person can be fired from their job, evicted from their apartment, sexually harassed, refused medicaid, and much more, and there is no law to protect them. The Human Rights Act was written to protect people who are must vulnerable to discrimination, and yet it is leaving out a group who needs it. They are not asking for extra rights, just the basic rights that most people take for granted. New York City has a bill that includes gender identity protection , but New York State does not, and neither do many other States.
For the past week I’ve been volunteering at the Empire State Pride Agenda. It’s boring work but it needs to be done. Eventually wrongs get righted. We look back at history and ask how did people ever justify slavery? Why weren’t women allowed to vote? Why were Jews banned from golf courses? Why was it such a big deal that JFK was catholic? Think of all the things we find acceptable in this day in age, and wonder if your grandchild will one day ask you why. Do you have a reason?
One of the people I look up to must in the world is transgendered. Not only is he hilarious, intelligent, open-minded and an amazing cook, he taught me what it means to truly accept yourself. The HeSo project would never have been possible if he didn’t first inspire me. A gift like that needs to be treasured and protected.