New York has extended anti-discrimination protections to transgender state employees.
Gov. David Paterson signed an executive order Wednesday at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan.
Paterson said anti-discrimination practices are important tools to attract and retain good employees.
A number of cities, including New York, Albany and Rochester, already prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.
Though state antidiscrimination law includes gay men and lesbians, it is silent on the issue of transgender people, The New York Times reported. While Paterson’s order will not have the sweep of a statute enacted by the State Legislature because it will apply only to state agencies, gay and transgender rights advocates said it would be a first step toward including gender identity and expression protections in state law.
The state Assembly has passed more comprehensive legislation to outlaw discrimination based on gender identity. It awaits action in the Senate.
Twelve states and the District of Columbia have broad laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender expression or identity, according to gay and transgender rights groups, the Times reported.