Glick and O'Donnell Announce Budget Funds for Transgender Civil Legal Services
Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, 66th Assembly District Manhattan, and Assemblymember Daniel J. O'Donnell, 69th Assembly District Manhattan, publicized a new funding stream for transgender people in need of civil legal services.
Assemblymember Glick stated:
Too often, transgender New Yorkers are deprived of their rights through discrimination based on their gender identity. This funding will enable them to have assistance in fighting against that discrimination. I am glad that the Transgender Legal Defense Fund (TLDEF) will be receiving additional resources to carry on this work.
Assemblymember O'Donnell echoed Assembly Member Glick:
While lesbians and gays have achieved monumental gains in societal acceptance, our trans friends are being increasingly targeted. 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. 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.
In 2002, New York State passed groundbreaking legislation, the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA). "SONDA protects everyone in the State from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Therefore, SONDA applies when a transgender person is discriminated against based upon his or her actual or perceived sexual orientation. In addition, courts in the State have held that transgender people are protected under other provisions of the Human Rights Law, including prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of sex and/or disability" (from the web site of the NYS Attorney General).
Founded in 2005, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) is committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people. Through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, and public policy efforts, they work for equal rights for transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers.
Michael Silverman, Executive Director of TLDEF emphasized the importance of this funding:
While transgender issues are receiving an unprecedented amount of attention, many transgender New Yorkers still face violence and harassment on a daily basis. Funding from New York State will allow TLDEF to address the unmet legal needs of transgender people in New York State. Thank you to Assembly members Glick and O'Donnell for ensuring that our work can continue with this important state funding.