Equality New York’s Policy Priorities & Coalition

Equality New York (EQNY) is a grassroots advocacy organization that advances the lives of all LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and their families in New York State. EQNY is the largest LGBTQIA2S+ grassroots organization, in New York State, with 100+ organizations & over 5,500 members. Our coalition is led by a 35-person advisory council composed of LGBTQIA2S+ leaders across the state.

Rather than the traditional top down advocacy organization, Equality New York’s decisions are made from the bottom up. Our priorities and programming are decided by our members.

Our state-wide policy platform focuses on five (5) key domains that disproportionately affect LGBTQIA2S+ individuals across New York State. Each domain is run by a commission which is in charge of identifying different strategies that include legislation and budget items that will lead to advancing the lives of all LGBTQIA2S+ New Yorkers and their families.

  • Bodily Autonomy & Reproductive Justice
  • Disability Justice, Health Care, & Mental Health Access
  • Racial Justice
  • Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, & Intersex Equity
  • Youth, Families & Aging Communities Protections

Bodily Autonomy & Reproductive Justice

Equality New York believes all LGBTQIA2S+ New Yorkers should determine what they do with their bodies. Bodily autonomy and reproductive justice does not only focus on rights, but also seeks meaningful equality. The framework that we use encompasses work for access to health care, as well as access to resources, freedom from racial discrimination, police violence, and other forms of oppression.

Promote Comprehensive Sex Ed in Schools

S2584 (Brouk) / TBD
This bill requires that comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education be taught in public schools.
Comprehensive Sex Education is a rights-based approach that seeks to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values they need to determine and enjoy their sexuality—physically and emotionally, individually and in relationships. It is important that young people navigate the difference between gender and sex; exploring gender roles and attributes; society’s changing norms and values; gender bias, stereotypes and inequality (including self-stigmatization).

Decriminalizing Sex Work Bill

S3075 (Salazar) / TBD (Forrest)
This bill relates to the decriminalization of sex work; repealer.
The decriminalization of prostitution and related acts can be viewed through many lenses, including: labor rights, sexual freedom, bodily autonomy, gender justice, racial justice, gay rights, transgender rights, and criminal justice reform. Sex workers’ rights is all of these things – and sits at the intersection of so many critical social justice movements. Supporting people who engage in sexual labor is a natural fit for LGBTQIA2S+ rights. Many sex workers identify as queer, and a disproportionate number of transgender women engage in sex work. Cisgender and transgender women who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) bear a disproportionate brunt of enforcement of New York laws criminalizing sex work, and the adverse consequences that follow. And police mistreatment of LGBTQIA2S+ people, especially Black and Latinx LGBTQIA2S+ people, is a persistent problem.

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

S1268 (Krueger)/ A760 (Seawright)
This bill will expand the classifications that are covered under section 11 to include sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ethnicity, age, and disability.
Currently, our state constitution only protects against racial and religious discrimination. The ERA would prohibit discrimination by the government based on a person’s ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and sex — including their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. It would also protect against any government actions that would curtail a person’s reproductive autonomy or their access to reproductive health care.

EQNY Disability Justice, Healthcare, & Mental Health Access

Equality New York believes that disability justice is integral to LGBTQIA2S+ justice. We will continue to fight for disabledLGBTQIA2S+ New Yorkers from a “nothing about us without us” perspective. Our work includes advocacy that will also provide high quality Health and Mental Health care.

Save the Pharmacy Benefit 340B Drug Discount Program

This request requires the state to continue to fund the 340B Drug Discount Program
Section 340B of the Public Health Service Act requires pharmaceutical manufacturers participating in Medicaid to sell outpatient drugs at discounted prices to healthcare organizations that care for many uninsured and low-income patients. These organizations include community health centers, children’s hospitals, hemophilia treatment centers, critical access hospitals (CAHs), sole community hospitals (SCHs), rural referral centers (RRCs), and public and nonprofit disproportionate share hospitals (DSH) that serve low-income and indigent populations. Some individuals and orgs want to scale it back or significantly reduce the benefits that eligible hospitals and their patients receive from the program. [Reference]

Pass a bill to make masks mandatory in NY healthcare facilities

The NYS legislature should pass a bill to make face masks permanently mandatory in healthcare facilities in New York state. With rising cases of COVID-19, flu, RSV and other deadly viruses, mandatory masks in healthcare facilities would ensure that all New Yorkers - including medically vulnerable LGBTQIA2S+ New Yorkers - are able to secure medical treatment safely. Passing a bill to this effect would ensure that masks remain required in the long term, rather than being at the whim of each Governor.

Study the Impacts of Non-Consensual Active Rescue Policies

Create a study commission to review the impacts of using various emergency responses for individuals not in immediate crisis. Includes studying the use of law enforcement and EMS on LGBTQIA2S+ individuals experiencing and individuals with disabilities experiencing a mental health crisis. Trans Lifeline Article for Non-Consensual Active Rescue Policies. Second Reference via Slate.

Implement a Pilot Program to use a Crisis Mobile Approach in Schools and Youth Programming

Create a pilot program that implements a crisis mobile approach when working with youth in crisis in school settings. Reference via The City

Racial Justice

Equality New York believes that we must use an anti-racist framework when working to advance LGBTQIA2S+ rights. Our racial justice legislative strategy is grounded in building cross-movement solidarity with coalitions and campaigns that center commitments to racial equity and reparative justice in policy solutions. We also partner with established advocacy coalitions that are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led and center the voices of those most impacted by the existing policy failures and amplifying powerful intersectional stories of BIPOC LGBTQIA2S+ New Yorkers.

End Biased-based Police Profiling

S3799 (Comrie)
An act to amend the New York city charter, in relation to expanding the investigative scope of the Civilian Complaint Review Board to include allegations of biased-based profiling.

Give Final Discipline Authority to CCRB

S5252 (Bailey)
An act to amend the New York city charter and the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to providing final discipline authority over civilian complaints to the civilian complaint review board.

Members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, especially those of color, disproportionately experience bias-based policing and police misconduct. The Civilian Complaint Review Board, an agency established in the City Charter is tasked with investigating and reporting police misconduct, but is powerless to do anything about it. Senate Bill S3799 amends the NYC Charter to expand the investigative scope of the CCRB to include allegations of biased-based profiling. Senate Bill S5252 amends the NYC Charter to give the CCRB new authority over investigations, prosecution, and discipline.

Repeal STI Discrimination Act

TBD (González-Rojas) / TBD (Hoylman)
AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to removing the criminalization of people living with sexually transmitted infections who engage in consensual sex and repealing section 2307 of such law there to; and to amend the criminal law to codify the absence of criminal liability for persons living with sexually transmitted infections who engage in consensual sex thereto.

It’s time we modernize the laws and policies, and eliminate discrimination, for people living with HIV/AIDS. Thisoutdated law criminalizes people with HIV/AIDS. The bill would repeal New York State Public Health Law 2307, a 76-year-old law that makes it a misdemeanor for any person with a known STI to have sexual intercourse with another. The bill would also expunge any prior convictions.

Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, & Intersex Equity

Equality New York believes that Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, Non-Binary, & Intersex (TGNCNBI) New Yorkers must be centered in all policy and systemic changes. Historically, TGNCNBI folx have been left behind when working to advance the LGBTQI movement. However, we aim to center TGNCBI folx in the movement. The platform focuses on health, identity, and dignity as fundamental rights afforded to all New York residents, inclusive of the right to access housing, education, employment and protection against crime without bias, discrimination or harassment.

TGNCNB Anti-Discrimination Requirements in Schools

S369 (Hoylman) / TBD.
This bill relates to schools adopting policies and procedures that ensure that schools and their employees treat students consistent with their gender identities or expressions.
Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Non-Binary (TGNCNB) students are routinely misgendered and denied equal opportunities in educational settings. While some, but very few, large New York school districts have policies to ensure equal participation for all young people without regard to gender identity and expression, many school districts do not. Even within large school districts, where there are existing policies, adherence is often shoddy and inconsistent. Affirming schools empower TGNCNB students and help their academic performance and social integration.

Gender Identity Respect Dignity and Safety Act S6677

(Salazar) / A7001-A (Rozic)
This bill relates to the treatment and placement of incarcerated people based upon gender identity.
The New York State criminal justice system often refuses basic rights to TGNCNB individuals who are incarcerated. Incarcerated TGNCNB people face much higher rates of violence, extortion, discrimination, lost opportunity, access to medications and basic needs. This bill ensures that correctional officers and staff address people by their names and pronouns; guarantees people access to commissary items, clothing, hygiene articles and other materials that are consistent with their gender identities; and establishes a right to be searched by officers of the same gender identity. It will make it unlawful to refuse or remove placement based on gender identity, or for disciplinary reasons, and strictly limit the length of involuntary protective custody. If an incarcerated person has overriding safety concerns, this bill will also enable them to opt-out of being housed consistently with their gender identity.

TGNC/NB Equity in Health Insurance Act.

TBD / A10530 (González-Rojas)
This is an act to amend the state finance law, in relation to participation in state contracts. Once passed, the state will be prohibited from entering into contracts with contractors who do not provide their employees with insurance that covers services for transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive people.
Many employers, especially large companies, self-fund their health insurance plans and/or keep their headquarter outside of New York. These plans preempt or outright avoid many New York protections, in particular, coverage for medically necessary care for transgender New Yorkers. This measure will make it clear to companies who wish to do business with this huge state that if you have a contract with New York, you must protect transgender New Yorkers.

Youth, Families & Aging Communities Protections

Equality New York believes we must protect our LGBTQIA2S+ youth, families and aging community as they are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. EQNY is committed to protecting the rights of our community throughout all phases of their lives.

LGBTQI-inclusive Curriculum

S1929 (Jackson) / A808 (O’Donnell)
This bill relates to bringing classroom materials into alignment with Core Curriculum Content Standards by ensuring students receive diverse instruction in history and the social sciences which will cultivate respect towards minority groups.
LGBTQIA2S+ inclusive curricula benefit students of all sexual orientations and gender identities in several key areas. Students gain an unbiased and more thorough understanding of the LGBTQIA2S+ community while learning how to promote acceptance. Students receive validation of their experiences, sexual orientations and gender identities and find a safe space to express their opinions and values

Make New York A Safe Haven for Transgender Youth & Families

S8842 (Holyman ) / A10138 (Bronson)
This bill relates to allowing and safeguarding transgender youth and their families who relocate or are native to New York to be protected from out-of-state laws or subpoenas that prohibit their families to determine their child’s need for gender-affirming care.
Gender-affirming care for our youth should be determined privately by youth and their families that are supportive of them. The state, healthcare officials, and local government officials should not be part of or prohibit these personal and private decisions for gender-affirming care. This bill will ensure that transgender youth and their families that either relocate to New York or are seeking gender-affirming care in New York are protected from any out-of-state laws that may prohibit care or issue a subpoena to parents of transgender youth seeking such care.

Modern Families Act

S9280 (Holyman) /A10523 (Gonzalez-Rojas)
This relates to allowing confirmatory adoption and parentage judgements for a child with more than two parents and recognizes functional parents as legal parents, allows "de facto parents" to get a court order confirming their parentage and grants all legal parents standing to seek visitation or custody of their children.
In today's society, it is becoming more and more common for a child to have more than two parents. The second and third sections of this bill include provisions allowing courts to recognize more than two parents of a child when it is in the child's best interests. Multi-parent planned families come in many forms, such as same-sex couples who conceive a child with a third person who, unlike a donor or surrogate, is a full co-parent of the child. Furthermore, polyamorous families, where more than two people have a romantic relationship, with the consent of all the people involved, can result in a multi-parent family if they create or raise a child together.

Long-Term Care Bill of Rights

(Hoylman) / A372 (Bronson)
An act to amend the public health law, in relation to establishing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender long-term care facility residents' bill of rights.
Elders in New York State deserve support and protection, whether in their homes or in care facilities. Currently, there are now more residents aged 65 and older in New York State—3.2 million—than the entire population of 21 states. Seniors are the fastest growing demographic, now roughly 1 in 6 New Yorkers are seniors.