In Double Victory for LGBT Rights, New York Bans Conversion Therapy and Passes Transgender Protections

Gov. Cuomo

The long fight to end so-called gay conversion therapy for minors in New York state ended today with the new Democratic majority in the State Senate easily passing a resolution to ban the practice.

According to NBC News, the bill passed 57 to 4 in the Senate and 134 to 3 in the Assembly, making New York the 15th state in the country to ban the practice. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign off on this bill this week.

LGBT advocates had more reason to celebrate Tuesday, as the state also passed The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) which officially adds gender identity to state human rights and hate crime laws.

The act was originally introduced to the New York state legislature 16 years ago. It failed while a resolution to add sexual orientation to the state human rights and hate crime laws passed.

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman advocated for GENDA and shared on the floor, as well on Twitter, the figures behind transgender and gender-nonconforming discrimination in New York:

  • “23% faced housing discrimination because of their gender identity, 12% became homeless and 26% of those who became homeless reported avoiding shelters due to fears of discrimination.”
  • “31% reported harassment or denials of service in a place of public accommodation. 22% in a health care setting and 17% at a government office. 59% reported avoiding using public restrooms because they were afraid of violence or harassment.”
  • “46% were harassed, 10% were sexually assaulted and 9% were otherwise physically attacked.”

Hoylman, who is a gay man, has also been advocating for the banning of conversion therapy. In 2014, he released a statement condemning the practice

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is among the worst frauds in history,” he wrote. “The State of New York has a responsibility to stop licensed mental health professionals from causing irreparable damage to LGBT youth and their families.”

The Democrat-dominated state assembly has passed multiple resolutions to ban the practice for minors, but the long-held Republican Senate stopped the bills in their tracks. Now, New York Democrats have control of both chambers in the state legislature as well as the governorship.

Cuomo has committed to an ever more LGBT friendly agenda and today’s passage of the two bills marks a further move forward in New York state for LGBT rights.