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New York governor denounces gender identity discrimination

Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks to put an end to discrimination against transgender people in the workplace, housing and others areas. In a letter dated Aug. 19, Cuomo stated that he believes gender identity should be protected from discriminatory practices just as civil rights protect people from discrimination based on disabilities, race and religion. The governor vowed to seek legal rights for gender expression if elected this fall. It would be the governor's second term in office.

Cuomo is set to run against a university law professor in the Democratic primary. If selected, he would face the Republican Westchester County executive and a candidate from the Green Party. A recent poll gives the governor a 2-to-1 lead over the Republican candidate. Cuomo's goal for increasing the rights of transgendered New Yorkers has already seen a victory. The state Assembly has already passed legislation to include protection for people against discrimination for gender identity. However, the state Senate has not.

Cuomo has an endorsement from a gay and transgender rights group called Empire State Pride Agenda. The organization has praised Cuomo before when he took action to legalize same-sex marriage and to rescind a policy that forced transgendered individuals to show proof of surgery in order to get their gender changed on birth certificates. The letter was written to the Empire State Pride Agenda and released by the group. In it, Cuomo mentioned that around 75 percent of transgender people in the state have been harassed or mistreated at work, according to surveys.

The law requires that employers create a safe workplace environment free from harassment and unfair treatment. Although gender identity might not be a protected class yet, workers who have experienced discrimination may be entitled to compensation. An attorney might assist employees in receiving back wages or pursuing lost earning ability.

Source: CBS New York, "Cuomo Calls To Outlaw Transgender Discrimination", August 21, 2014

Source: CBS New York, "Cuomo Calls To Outlaw Transgender Discrimination", August 21, 2014

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