Budget allocates $75,000 to fight transgender discrimination

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Transgender New Yorkers still face discrimination, whether it be in the workplace, at school or in housing. To help fight such discrimination, Assembly members Deborah Glick and Daniel O’Donnell have announced funding that will allow more members of the transgender community access to civil legal services.

The budget will allocate $75,000 to help the community in cases involving housing, workplace discrimination and other cases that require legal services. This is the first time money has been allocated in the state budget for this program.

O’Donnell and Glick, both Manhattan Democrats, emphasized the importance of helping this community.

Transgender people are more likely to be discriminated against at work, school, and in housing, are more likely to live below the poverty line, and are more likely to become homeless,” O’Donnell said. “I believe that the ultimate achievement of equal rights is to have fair representation- these funds will allow New York’s transgender community to have access to great legal representation and dignity before the law.

Included in the state budget is a definition of what this money will be used for: “… services, expenses or reimbursement of expenses incurred by local government agencies and/or not-for-profit providers or their employees providing civil or criminal legal services.”

In 2002 the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act was passed in New York state, which outlaws discrimination based on orientation. In 2005, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund was created to ensure equality for the transgender community.

“This funding will enable [transgender New Yorkers] to have assistance in fighting against that discrimination,” Glick said. “I am glad that the Transgender Legal Defense Fund will be receiving additional resources to carry on this work.”

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund is involved in public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, and public policy efforts on behalf of transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers.