New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed new legislation into law that will protect the LGBTQ+ community and gender pronouns.
To celebrate “Transgender Awareness Week,” Hochul signed a pair of bills that relate to vacating convictions for offenses committed due to being a victim of sex trafficking, labor trafficking, or compelling prostitution, and another that will require utility companies to allow customers to use their preferred name and pronouns.
“As we witness attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and protections around the country, New York is once again declaring that we are a state for all — one where we don't needlessly criminalize victims and where our trans, gender non-binary, and gender non-conforming communities are affirmed," Hochul said.
"My administration is committed to equality and safety for everyone and New York is able to lead the way because of the work of our tireless advocates and our partners in the legislature. Together we will continue to build a state that is welcoming to all."
Under the new law, utility customers in New York will have the right to be addressed and acknowledged by their preferred name and pronouns by requiring utility corporations, municipalities, water-works corporations, and telephone service providers to allow customers to use their preferred name and pronouns.
“Nobody should suffer the indignity of being 'deadnamed' or being referred to by their non-affirmed name or gender,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman said.
“And with 2021 being the most deadly year for transgender and nonbinary people since the Human Rights Campaign began recording this data, our new law sends an important message of support to the (approximately) 78,000 transgender and gender non-conforming people across New York State.”
According to state lawmakers, the second bill, dubbed “the SMART Act,” “strengthens protections for victims of sex trafficking, labor trafficking, compelling prostitution, and trafficking in persons, who are convicted of a range of offenses as a result of that trafficking or compelling.”
“Trafficking survivors are not criminals,” Assemblymember Richard Gottfried said. “People enslaved by traffickers should not suffer the burden of convictions for crimes they were forced to commit.
“New York's 2010 law was the first in the country and became a national model. Now, thanks to Governor Hochul, more trafficking survivors can build productive lives, and be protected from being deported for their earlier convictions.”
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