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NYS Human Rights Law Protections for Gender Identity & Expression

In 1945, the New York State Legislature passed what was the first civil rights law in the country. This law—which is now known as the Human Rights Law — prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, credit, places of public accommodation, internships, domestic services, volunteer firefighting, and non-sectarian educational institutions. In 2019, the Human Rights Law was amended through the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) to explicitly add gender identity or expression as a protected category.  Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression is prohibited in all areas covered by the Human Rights Law.

Past Events

  • DHR spoke at a virtual event hosted by the New Pride Agenda at 6 PM on November 16, 2021.

  • DHR also joined other state agencies at “Unity Through Diversity - The Power of Unity” an LGBT People of Color Virtual Health Conference hosted by In Our Own Voices. The conference ran from November 17, 2021 through November 19, 2021.

What Does the Law Cover?
Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression is prohibited in all areas covered by the Human Rights Law, including employment, housing, places of public accommodation, non-religious schools, and more

What Is Gender Identity or Expression?
Gender identity or expression means a person's actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender. A transgender person is an individual who has a gender identity different from the sex assigned to that individual at birth. Gender dysphoria is a recognized medical condition related to an individual having a gender identity different from the sex assigned at birth. Gender non-conforming is a term used to describe a person whose gender expression differs from gender stereotypes, norms, and expectations in a given culture or historical period. Non-binary is term used to describe a person who does not identify as exclusively male or female.

What Is Prohibited by the Law?
Unlawful discrimination based on gender identity or expression can include:

  • questions about gender identity or expression, an individual's sex assigned at birth, medical history, or body parts in a job or housing interview
  • refusing to hire for a job, to rent an apartment or to allow equal access to credit, a public accommodation, or a school
  • terminating employment or housing
  • applying different terms or conditions of employment, of a lease, of credit or of service in a public establishment
  • denying the use of rest rooms, locker rooms, or other facilities consistent with a person's gender identity
  • requiring grooming, uniform, or appearance standards based on sex stereotypes
Where Should I File a Complaint?
If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your gender identity, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights. A complaint must be filed with the Division within one year of the alleged discriminatory act. Call us at 1-888-392- 3644 to discuss your situation. 

Animated Video: Gender Identity Discrimination & Fair Housing


Opens in a new windowAnimated Video: Gender Identity Discrimination and Fair Housing

Download PdfGender Identity Discrimination Guidance (Booklet)

Download PdfGender Identity Discrimination Palmcard

Download PdfDiscrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression (Brochure)

Download PdfGender Identity Discrimination by Hospitals (Two-Page Handout)

Opens in a new windowDHR's Page on LGBTQ+ Rights

Opens in a new windowDHR's Know Your Rights Guide on LGBTQ+ Rights