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 private, non-sectarian educational institutions.
The Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based upon actual or perceived sexual orientation. The term sexual orientation is defined in the Human Rights Law as “heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality, whether actual or perceived.”
In January 2019, the Human Rights Law was amended to 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, including employment, housing, places of public accommodation, and non-religious schools. 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.