Albany Agenda

The laws and bills impacting trans New Yorkers

Protections – and restrictions – continue to be considered at the city and state level.

People unfold a giant trans flag at the Queer Liberation March in New York City in 2022.

People unfold a giant trans flag at the Queer Liberation March in New York City in 2022. Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York has a legacy in leading monumental battles of equality. In 1969, the Stonewall uprising saw weeklong protests after police rained violence on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Five decades later, the LGBTQ+ rights movement continues to hold strong, fighting for equality and just legislation. In fact, compared to our southern state peers, New York state ranks quite high in laws and bills protecting LGBTQ+ rights. Though trans rights are under attack around the nation, trans activists in New York are continuing to push for progress with new legislation to expand and protect those rights.

Here is an overview of some of the laws and proposed laws impacting trans New Yorkers.


Repeal of “walking while trans”

For decades, police officers were able to arrest people they suspected of “loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution” under the law trans advocates called“walking while trans.” In effect, it was Black and brown transgender women, nonbinary people, immigrants and low-income communities who were most targeted. Those charged faced challenges in employment, housing and development in their immigration status. However, in 2021, in response to a swell of activism primarily from trans women, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo repealed the law and sealed the prior convictions of people who were wrongly discriminated against and charged under this statute. This repeal was sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assembly Member Amy Paulin. 

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) 

This bill provides legal protections for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals by explicitly adding gender identity and expression to protected categories under New York’s Human Rights Law. This bars employment, housing and other kinds of discrimination based on a person’s chosen gender identity. The bill, sponsored by Hoylman-Sigal and then-Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, passed in January 2019. 

“Safe Haven” law 

This law amended public health, insurance and education laws to include gender-affirming care, protecting the rights of minors to access that care. It also prevents New York from cooperating with other states seeking to separate children from their guardians for receiving gender-affirming care. Texas, Wyoming and New Hampshire all have bills that define gender-affirming care as child abuse. The bill was sponsored by Hoylman-Sigal and Assembly Member Harry Bronson, and it was passed in June 2023. 


The “Protect Women’s Sports from Unfair Competition” bill 

According to the Anti-Trans Legislation Tracker, this is the only anti-trans bill currently being considered by the state Legislature. This proposed bill would ban trans girls from competing in middle and high school competitive sports, saying the biological differences between men and women are too pronounced to allow for competition between trans and cis women. The bill is sponsored by Republican state Sen. George Borello and Assembly Member Andy Goodell, and it is currently in committee. 

The Gender Identity Respect, Dignity and Safety Act (GIRDS)

This proposed bill would make it so incarcerated individuals in New York have access to commissary items, clothing and other materials that align with their gender identity. It would also require correctional officers and prison staff to address inmates by the name and pronouns they prefer. Trans inmates would have the right to be searched by correctional officers who align with their identity. The bill is sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Julia Salazar and Assembly Member Nily Rozic, and it is currently in committee. 

Stop Violence in the Sex Trade Act 

This proposed bill, supported by many trans rights advocates, would decriminalize consensual sex work among adults by repealing over a dozen criminal and civil provisions which make sex work illegal and punishable in New York. The bill is sponsored by Salazar and Assembly Member Phara Souffrant Forrest, and it is currently in committee.

New York City Office of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression

This bill would require the mayor to establish an Office of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression. The office would be responsible for community outreach, education and other programs dedicated to responding to concerns within the LGBTQ+ community. The bill, sponsored by Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, has been referred to the Committee on Women and Gender Equity for further deliberation. 

Study on transgender domestic violence 

This bill calls for the state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to conduct a study on domestic violence in the transgender community. The study would examine and evaluate the “prevalence, causes, effects, risks and costs” of domestic violence in the trans community, with a focus on Black transgender women who are disproportionately affected. If passed, the study would aim to present their findings to the governor and the Legislature within one year, which would include possible solutions to address and prevent domestic violence. This bill is sponsored by Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and state Sen. Kevin Parker. 

Gender marker bill 

This bill would require state agencies, public authorities and municipalities to provide an “X” option on any form requiring gender identification to better account for individuals who do not identify as male or female. This bill expands a law that passed in 2021 requiring an “X” option on driver's licenses, hoping to further enhance the right for people to more accurately represent themselves. This bill is sponsored by state Sen. Leroy Comrie and Assembly Member Tony Simone. The bill has now passed in the state Senate twice, but last year died in the Assembly. It’s currently in the Assembly’s Governmental Operations Committee. 

Gender-affirming care

A new bill which aims to repeal and amend 21 laws regarding gender-affirming care, is on the state Senate’s floor calendar for review. The bill would make it illegal for the parents of children who are receiving gender-affirming care to be arrested. This comes as states across the country are proposing criminal sentences for parents and physicians who allow their children to receive gender-affirming care. A 2022 study from the National Institute of Health found that “gender-affirming medical interventions were associated with lower odds of depression and suicidality.” This bill is sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assembly Member Harry Bronson.

Bill to protect gender-nonconforming students

This bill would amend education law to require the board of education and trustees in each school district to establish policies that ensure transgender and gender-nonconforming students are not treated differently from other students. This means schools and their employees would be required to interact with students in a manner consistent with their gender identity without requiring medical documents as a prerequisite. It would also guarantee students access to sex-segregated facilities like locker rooms, restrooms and athletic teams which align with their identity. Student privacy relating to their birth name and assigned sex would also be protected, and students would be able to request amendments to their records regarding gender identity if they believe it is inaccurate or a violation of their privacy. The bill is sponsored by Hoylman-Sigal and Assembly Member Tony Simone. It is currently in the Education Committees in the state Senate and Assembly.