Target: Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
Goal: Protect transgender New Yorkers from discrimination by campaigning for permanent legislation.
The governor of North Carolina has called on Andrew Cuomo to boycott his own state because New York lacks protections for transgender people. In order to deflect attention from the serious threat he and his legislative allies pose to the people of North Carolina, Pat McCrory called Andrew Cuomo, a prominent critic of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT legislation, a hypocrite.
While that criticism is largely false—Cuomo issued an executive order to protect transgender people from harassment and discrimination—McCrory’s charge contains a kernel of truth. New York lacks permanent legislation to protect its transgender citizens from discrimination.
To be absolutely clear, Andrew Cuomo is a supporter of LGBT rights and a powerful advocate for transgender people. As Governor Cuomo’s office notes, his order “represent[s] the first state regulatory action in the nation to affirm that harassment and other forms of discrimination, by both public and private entities, on the basis of a person’s gender identity, transgender status, or gender dysphoria is considered unlawful discrimination,” and is therefor a major milestone in our struggle for equality.
However, we must remember that executive orders can be revoked at will. Whoever replaces Governor Cuomo will be free to strip away the protections that transgender New Yorkers currently enjoy with the stroke of a pen.
Equality should not be subject to caprice. Call on Governor Cuomo to campaign to make his non-discrimination protections a more permanent fixture of New York state law.
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Pat McCrory recently charged you with hypocrisy for daring to speak out against the oppression of North Carolina’s LGBT citizens when your own state, New York, lacks a law to protect transgender people. The Washington Blade reports that he said, “I don’t think New York even has such a law forcing businesses to accept people of one gender to be able to use the restroom and shower facilities in their businesses, so [Andrew Cuomo] might need to boycott his own state at this point in time.” That statement conveniently neglects your executive order, which protects transgender people across the state from harassment and discrimination.
McCrory’s criticism is a transparent attempt to deflect national scrutiny from his moral failure. That said, it contains an element of truth. An executive order is not a law. Just as you led your state to a milestone on the road to equality, your successors will be at liberty to turn the state back. That situation—leaving the rights of some of your most vulnerable citizens to the vagaries of political expedience and personal caprice—is untenable.
We urge you to live up to your mantle as a champion of LGBT equality and as an advocate for all the citizens of your great state. We ask you to campaign for a legislative solution to discrimination against transgender people.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bob Jagendorf