Two days after a New York State Senate bill that would have outlawed discrimination against transgender and gender-bending people was defeated in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee a Queens homeless shelter for gay and transgender youth suffered an attack.
Sharon Stapel, executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), issued a press release denouncing the vote. "Given the rampant discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people in New York, AVP believes this bill is critical to protecting the rights of transgender people when seeking employment, housing, credit and using public accommodations," the statement said in part.
All 11 Republicans and one Bronx Democrat, Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr, voted against the bill, the Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The rest of the Democrats on the committee voted for it.
Diaz, Sr., who is a minister according to his online biography, declined to explain his vote to City Limits. "I’m not talking about that. I’m not talking about that," he said. "I have nothing to say."
Republican senators who voted down the bill did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The bill’s defeat comes after Make the Road New York conducted an experiment and survey suggesting that employment discrimination against transgender people is extensive.
Forty-six percent of the non-transgendered people participating in the experiment were offered jobs, while only 4 percent of transgendered applicants were. All applicants had similar resumes, experience and even interviewing styles.
59 percent of the transgender and gender-bending individuals surveyed reported that they had experienced employment discrimination.
One or more vandals defaced the Queens homeless shelter for gay and transgender youth, most of whom have been disowned by their families. "We don’t want gay people here" and other slurs were scrawled on the shelter, the Ali Forney Center.
The following Monday evening the shelter and other gay and transgender youth providers held a rally at Union Square to express their outrage over such violence.
"I am infuriated that someone would target our kids in this cowardly way" said Carl Siciliano, the shelter’s executive director, in a press release issued Friday by AVP. "The young people who come to us for help and shelter have already experienced terrible hardship, and I will not stand for them to be further abused."