Each June we honor the brave New Yorkers who galvanized the modern day fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the United States. This month was chosen for LGBT Pride Month as it commemorates the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which occurred in Manhattan at the end of June 1969. These events are widely considered as the catalyst that inspired LGBT people throughout the country to organize in support of LGBT rights and, within two years, LGBT rights groups had started in nearly every major city.
My Senate Democratic colleagues and I strongly support the LGBT community and will do everything in our power to defend and enhance their civil rights. We are well aware that although progress has indeed been made, there is much more to accomplish to improve and protect the lives of LGBT individuals. Among the legislation we are fighting for:
• The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression and includes offenses regarding gender identity or expression under the hate crimes statute.
• The Conversion Therapy Ban, S.263, would prohibit a mental health professional from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a child who is under 18 years.
Please know that we will continue our fight to safeguard the rights of all New Yorkers. Many resources are available that offer valuable assistance, such as the NYS Department of Health and The Center in New York City which provides information relating to health and wellness matters, legal services, employment issues, and locating community centers.
LGBT Pride Month provides a wonderful opportunity for communities to host parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, celebrating the wonderful achievements of its LGBT members.