New York City is releasing new guidelines to help combat discrimination against people based on gender or gender identity. The New York City Human Rights Commission has put forth specific rules explaining just what amounts to discrimination. The rules cover discriminatory practices that often target gay and transgender people. The guidelines will apply to a large percentage of businesses, as well as to landlords and other employers.
Transgender people have been added to a number of antidiscrimination protections that did not originally name them, including in New York. The transgender community faces certain forms of discrimination that are covered in the new guidelines. The rules make it clear that individuals are entitled to the personal pronoun of their choice. An employer who refuses to honor your choice or ridicules you for your preference is violating antidiscrimination laws.
The new rules confirm that transgender individuals have a right to use the restroom or locker room appropriate for their gender identity. The guidelines specifically mention that complaints from other employees or patrons of an establishment are not sufficient to deny transgender people their rights. The new rules will hopefully ease some of the difficulties faced by the transgender community in New York, while also serving as an example to jurisdictions that have not acted to put a stop to discriminatory practices.
New York’s new guidelines went beyond issues specific to the transgender community. They also tackled issues like employee and patron dress codes and health coverage. The Commission took the opportunity to reject practices that push gender stereotypes. Such stereotypes serve no beneficial purpose and are often the tools of discrimination.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “New York City Unveils Rules on Gender Discrimination,” by Associated Press, 21 December 2015