Nassau Legis. Judith Jacobs is urging majority Republicans to expand the county’s Human Rights Laws to include transgender individuals following Sunday’s shooting by a gunman at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
For the past six years, the GOP has rebuffed Democratic efforts to add a line to the county’s civil rights law, which addresses workplace and housing discrimination, but omits specific protections based on gender identity.
Jacobs (D-Woodbury) said Sunday’s massacre at the Pulse nightclub — which left 50 dead, including the gunman, and 53 others injured — should serve as a “wake-up call” that transgender people are not protected under county law.
“Everyone should feel protected,” Jacobs said. “And, this tragedy puts a spotlight on what’s wrong in our county’s discrimination law.”
Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) has argued that the county’s Human Rights Law, which prohibits discrimination based on “gender” and “sexual orientation,” already protects the transgender community.
“Now is the time to put politics aside and pray for all who are suffering — all,” Gonsalves said in a statement.
Suffolk County and New York City have anti-discrimination protections for transgender people, and North Hempstead recently passed a law that protects individuals on the basis of gender identity.