Tuesday, May 8, is Equality & Justice Day at the New York State Capitol in Albany. It's an annual event where LGBT people and our supporters lobby and rally for equal rights, and obviously getting as many supporters as possible is important. It's tempting for us LGBT'ers (and even more tempting for legislators) to rest on our laurels a bit after our recent victories. After all, New York has marriage equality now, and the recent EEOC ruling was a big step for trans equality. This attitude can be a slippery slope.
The EEOC ruling is not hard-and-fast law, as Bil's earlier post on Barney Frank's statement elucidates. Additionally, the EEOC ruling applies only to employment. Housing, credit, medical care... those arenas remain untouched.
With elections coming up, the lawmakers who voted for marriage equality last year, especially the GOP supporters, may feel like they have already granted the LGBT community our favor. Many don't want to "stick their neck out" again for us. It's important to keep the pressure on. And it's important for the LGB members of our community not to leave trans people behind in the fight for equal rights. Trans people are not a bargaining chip. Equal rights for most is not equal rights.
Equality & Justice Day will center on the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which will ensure that transgender people are included in the New York State human rights law. The event will feature lobbying, workshops, caucuses, and a rally at 1 p.m. Preregistration is open till Friday, April 27, at the Empire State Pride Agenda's website, but same-day registration is available at the event. It's a Tuesday and most people will be at work, so if you can't make it for the whole day, take a half-day or an extended lunch break for the rally at 1 p.m., in West Capitol Park, which does not require registration. The rally is where the media will be, so a good turnout will maximize its impact.
Be counted. Make your voice heard. Your actions matter.