New York State bill requiring gender neutral terms in law passes

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ALBANY, NY (WENY)– This week New York State lawmakers pass a bill to require gender-neutral terms in law. 

“I think this is reflective of the truth, but also the evolving ways that people identify themselves,” said Assembly Member Alex Bores (D-Assembly District 73). 

The bill requires any law, local law, rule, regulation, or resolution to include gender-neutral terms such as “they,” “them,” or “theirs.” 

The law justifies, this language makes it clear that one type of person is not favored or disfavored to participate in a particular activity or profession.

“Any place in law where we are referring to a specific individual, we shouldn’t assume that it’s just men holding that role,” Assembly Member Bores said.   

Assembly Member Anna Kelles sponsor of the bill, said this legislation will ensure rights, responsibilities and protections of all New Yorkers regardless of their gender or sexual identity. 

“It will change the way that we think about the laws that govern the state in the context of being inclusive. It is easy to be unconsciously exclusionary by using the binary he/she pronouns, but they exclude a significant and growing population of non-binary New Yorkers, and can lead to a lot of confusion and promote social isolation,” Assembly Member Kelles said. 

Some advocates said this bill is small in it’s scope of what it will accomplish, but it will move New York away from using the gender binary.

“So, people who see themselves as non-binary, gender non-conforming, they get to see themselves now at a very high level of law,” said Meagon Nolasco, Pride Center of the Capitol Region. 

Now that the bill passed in both chambers it goes to the Governor’s desk for her signature and some lawmakers are hopeful she will sign. 

Nolasco added there is more lawmakers could be doing for LGBTQ+ communities. She said she hopes the legislature will make movement on a bill currently still in committee, relating to certain prohibitions regarding the legal system and gender affirming care.

Lawmakers have about two weeks left of legislative session. Assembly Member Bores said this bill will likely not be the last bill addressing gender identity.

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