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Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Communities in Housing, Employment and Public Spaces Enjoy Strong Protections in New York City

The New York City Commission on Human Rights has issued guidance that sets forth what constitutes gender identity and gender expression discrimination pursuant to the New York City Human Rights Law.

As per the Commission, examples of violations of the New York City Human Rights Law on the basis of gender identity and expression include:
–“Intentionally failing to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun or title. For example, repeatedly calling a transgender woman “him” or “Mr.” when she has made it clear that she prefers female pronouns and a female title.

–Refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities, such as bathrooms or locker rooms, and participate in single-sex programs, consistent with their gender identity. For example, barring a transgender woman from a women’s restroom out of concern that she will make others uncomfortable.

–Enforcing dress codes, uniforms, and grooming standards that impose different requirements based on sex or gender. For example, enforcing a policy that requires men to wear ties or women to wear skirts.

–Failing to providing employee health benefits that cover gender-affirming care or failing to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals undergoing gender transition, including medical appointments and recovery, where such reasonable accommodations are provided to other employees. (Federal and New York laws already require certain types of insurance to cover medically-necessary transition-related care.)”


The New York City Human Rights Law is considered one of the strongest in the United States in protecting the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. The impact of this development will be significant and positive, since according to the Commission, roughly 25,200 transgender and gender non-conforming people call New York City home.

The Commission can impose civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.

That is the law as it stands now.