The Empire State Pride Agenda is kicking off a quarter-million-dollar ad campaign to push for the state to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that protects transgendered New Yorkers, the Times-Union writes.
The bill, which has languished in the state congress for years, would add "gender expression" to a list of factors in state law — including race and sexual orientation — for which discrimination is expressly prohibited.
Nathan Schaefer, the organization's executive director, said transgender New Yorkers face very real discrimination and he’s hopeful the bill finally will be brought to the floor:
"Transgendered New Yorkers can be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes —they can be denied public accommodation," Schaefer said.
This is the first time the bill will receive a significant advertising campaign, which will include radio spots as well as display ads in newspapers and websites.
Schaefer admits the timing of the ad campaign was intended to ride the coattails of the marriage equality bill that passed in 2011. The gay rights group decided to push forward and strike while the iron was hot.
Still the bill faces an uphill battle, with only 23 Democratic co-sponsors and no GOP sponsors. Religious conservatives also have lobbied against the bill, saying it would allow people to use whichever bathroom they wish, potentially endangering restroom-goers.