Two important pieces of legislation for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers passed Tuesday in the state Senate.
GENDA, or the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act, has officially passed and will increase protections for transgender and gender non-conforming New York citizens.
Tamara Leigh, communications director at the Out Alliance, said that up until now, there was no New York state law that explicitly protected this group of people from harassment and discrimination in areas like employment and housing.
The Assembly passed the bill in 2003, but it has never made it through the Senate.
"These bills exist and they float around, but it’s just a matter of getting support and the votes to actually be able to pass it through all the levels of government," Leigh said. "This is a really big day."
Leigh said this legislation is essential, as violence against LGBTQ+ people in New York has increased by 86 percent between 2016 and 2017.
"This is a big deal here. I think we like to think of ourselves being eastern and northern and that we're far above some of the other ills that plague the rest of the world and the country, but that’s not the case."
Also passing through the Senate on Tuesday was a ban on conversion therapy for people under the age of 18.
"There have been children that have been irreparably harmed and traumatized by being forced to participate in conversion therapy, and that’s just unacceptable in 2019," Leigh said.
Leigh said the practice has always been controversial, but never illegal until now.