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Pass transgender rights act in NY

The New York State Senate meets in the

The New York State Senate meets in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Albany on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

The rights of transgender individuals are specifically protected in almost 60 percent of the state, including Suffolk and Westchester counties and New York City. Nassau County is the largest municipality among the 40 percent of the state where they aren't. That's why it's time for the State Legislature to act.

These New Yorkers suffer significant job discrimination and physical assaults. Younger transgender people have high rates of abandonment by their families, bullying in schools and attempted suicide. The openness of Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner about his gender identity struggles should bring a new understanding and awareness of the challenges.

Every year since 2003, the Assembly has passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act. The Senate should stop blocking the measure and allow a vote.