Senator James Skoufis (D-39) joined The Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center recently to tout the passage of the first LGBTQ rights bills since marriage equality eight years ago: GENDA and a prohibition on so-called conversion therapy. Skoufis was joined by Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson (D-104); Rae Leiner, the executive director and co-founder of the center; Phoenix Gale, a local transgender activist; and members of the center.
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression, including offenses subject to treatment as hate crimes.
“We know that members of the transgender community are increasingly targeted for hate crimes, and it’s time we fully protect their right to safety and pursuit of happiness under state law. I’m committed to doing right by all New Yorkers, and this bill is just the beginning,” said Skoufis.
Another bill proposing a ban on gay conversion therapy was passed in both houses of the Legislature. This bill prohibits licensed therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation. It is accepted science that humans do not “choose” to be gay, making so-called conversion therapy both insulting and inhumane.
“Considering there is a conversion therapist right in our backyard, here in Newburgh, it’s important that this message is heard loudly and clearly: one’s sexual orientation is not a mental disorder, and conversion therapy is child abuse” said Skoufis.
Rae Leiner added, “As queer people of color, we are often the ones who are murdered for being transgender or gender non-conforming. I am so proud to be standing in this space with allies like Senator Skoufis and can’t wait for these bills to become state law.”
Both bills passed in the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday, January 15 and are awaiting signature from the Governor who has indicated he will approve them.