From The Times Union (Albany, NY): http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Transgender-is-a-fact-of-life-4150203.php
By REX AND KAREN BUTT, Commentary
Published 7:56 pm, Thursday, December 27, 2012
The movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality has made great strides over the past few years. In 2011, state legislators finally realized that all loving, committed New Yorkers should be free to marry the person they love. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama followed suit, and we are hopeful that the Supreme Court will soon reach the same conclusion.
Despite such progress, there is one life-threatening omission The T in LGBT has been left behind. As parents of a transgender daughter, we are deeply concerned that, merely because of her gender identity and expression, our state’s laws deny our daughter basic civil rights and protections that others take for granted. This is why our New Year’s wish for 2013 is that New York lawmakers pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. It is also our New Year’s resolution not to rest until this law passes.
Without this basic, common sense measure -— which enjoys broad public support — transgender citizens face legal challenges in categories as basic as employment and housing. For living her life openly, with dignity and authenticity, our daughter can be fired from her job or denied or removed from housing, both without recourse, simply because she is transgender. We do not accept that our child or anyone should have to endure these challenges, yet they remain a fact of life for our daughter and thousands of others only because of the lack of action by our state Legislature.
The passage of GENDA, as the proposed law is known, is not only a necessary, life-affirming measure for thousands of New Yorkers and their families. It also finishes a job that is already started. Today, almost 60 percent of New Yorkers are covered by county or municipal laws that protect people based on gender identity and expression, and passage of GENDA would bring parity to the remainder of the state’s residents. Furthermore, 16 states and countless municipalities, many that are far more conservative than New York, have passed such laws, all without incident. Ironically, New York is widely perceived as progressive, yet when it comes to protecting our daughter, we have yet to catch up with Colorado, New Mexico, and Illinois.