Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Gays vs. the Transgendered: New York Activists Go Head-to-Head over an Antidiscrimination Bill. (Politics)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Gays vs. the Transgendered: New York Activists Go Head-to-Head over an Antidiscrimination Bill. (Politics)

Article excerpt

Last year gay activists were fighting conservatives in their attempt to get the New York legislature to pass a statewide antidiscrimination law covering gays and lesbians. But this year they find themselves facing off with transgender groups.

For 31 years activists have lobbied the legislators to pass the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, which would outlaw antigay discrimination in housing, employment, and other areas. The bill got a huge boost in January when Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, endorsed it in his State of the State speech. And after passing the assembly in January, the bill is expected to go before a favorable senate by June. But now transgender organizations are waging a vocal campaign to amend the legislation to include protections against discrimination based on gender identity.

The tussle in New York reflects a familiar tension that is often present between gay and transgender political groups. Gay politicos insist that excluding gender language from proposed laws is political realism. But gender groups counter that it's hypocritical to wave the banner of civil rights while purposely excluding some of the community's most vulnerable members. …

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