Over the weekend Governor Kathy Hochul signed a pair of bills honoring Pride Month.
The first bill establishes the Lorena Borjas Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund to support organizations that provide critical services for the transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary community.
The second bill will add a non-binary gender X to the potential options for gender designations in elected positions that require that the elected people be of varying genders.
The measures are intended to ensure that non-binary New Yorkers can fully participate in our democratic system.
Governor Kathy Hochul called for New York State landmarks to be illuminated in the colors of the LGBTQ+ pride flag and the transgender flag on varying nights until the end of Pride month.
“New York is the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement and has always been the leader in advancing equality and justice for LGBTQ+ Americans, but elected officials in other states are using their powers to take those rights away,” Hochul said in a statement. “Today, I am proud to sign legislation that further advances equality and equity for the LGBTQ+ community. By establishing funds and addressing inequities experienced by gender non-conforming and non-binary New Yorkers, we can ensure that our state truly is a safe and affirming place for everyone and that the voices of all are heard.”
Here’s more on the two bills from Hochul’s office
Legislation S.8884-A/A.9418 establishes the Lorena Borjas Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund to support organizations that provide critical services for the transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary and intersex (TGNCNBI) community. The FY 2023 Budget includes $13.5 million for the Department of Health – an increase of $8 million over the prior fiscal year – to support the LGBTQ+ community and network of providers, with direct health services, cultural competency education and training, organizational capacity building and transgender wellness initiatives. This includes $2 million, in addition to $1 million from the legislature, serving the TGNCNBI community, consistent with the intent of this bill. Lorena Borjas, who was lost to COVID in 2020, was a transgender rights advocate in Queens who dedicated her life to supporting transgender immigrants, many of whom fled transphobic oppression in their home countries. She helped trans women experiencing poverty, sex trafficking, food insecurity, and other equities. By establishing this fund, our state builds upon Lorena’s legacy.
Legislation S.6901-B/A.7933-C requires political parties to change their rules to permit people who do not identify as a binary gender to be elected to party positions. Currently, party rules may require candidates to select “male” or “female” when seeking office, excluding non-binary people or requiring them to select a gender that they do not identify with. This historic legislation ensures that non-binary New Yorkers can fully participate in our democratic system, and that the state’s political parties have the opportunity to be truly reflective of the state’s diversity.