As a major sponsor of the New York LGBTQI Advocacy Day at the state Capitol, NYSUT helped bring 250 advocates from across the state to share their stories.
The broad coalition bolstered by the union seeks nothing less than the fundamental human rights that every Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Intersex — LGBTQI — resident of New York deserves.
“We stand together, we stand for social justice and for protecting people who would be denied their rights and persecuted,” said Andy Pallotta, NYSUT president. “Unions have always stuck together to do what’s right.”
The coalition’s broad agenda includes the GENDA bill. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act would add the words “gender identity and expression” to the language of the state Human Rights Law that protects against discrimination in employment, health care, housing, public transportation, public accommodations and credit.
Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan, the Senate sponsor, told grassroots activists the legislation has passed the Assembly in each of the past 10 years, and again this week. It’s way past time for it to come to the floor of the Senate for the first time this year.
Another key bill, also sponsored by Hoylman in the Senate, would ban conversion therapy. This so-called therapy is a harmful and widely discredited form of “treatment” that is designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation. Aside from being inappropriate, it also is considered ineffective and actually harmful. The bill would prohibit mental health professionals from practicing conversion therapy with patients under the age of 18.
Participants in the advocacy day also took time to honor pioneer Edie Windsor, who was at the vanguard of the information technology industry starting in the 1950s and became an iconic lesbian activist.
She became more famous as a result of her 42-year engagement, and, finally marriage, to Dr. Thea Spyer. Their love affair was honored in the documentary, “Edie & Thea, A Very Long Engagement”.