Governor Kathy Hochul has issued a proclamation declaring November Transgender Awareness Month to celebrate transgender, gender non-conforming, and nonbinary communities in New York State and across the country. The Governor also announced that New York State will raise the Transgender Flag at the Capitol and landmarks will be lit pink, white and light blue on Monday, Nov. 20, in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Governor further announced several state actions to support transgender individuals across New York.
“Transgender Awareness Month is not only a month to celebrate the invaluable contributions that transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary communities have made to our state, but also a time to confront the misconceptions that breed discrimination and violence against transgender people.” Governor Hochul said. “My administration remains dedicated to strengthening resources and protections for transgender New Yorkers so that every individual in our state can live free from discrimination and be valued for who they are.”
During Pride Month 2022, the Governor signed legislation establishing the Lorena Borjas Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund, allocating $2 million in state agency funding to support organizations that provide critical services for the transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary community.
Earlier this year, Governor Hochul expanded this fund by directing the New York State Office of Mental Health to make an additional $1 million available to support suicide prevention programming for TGNCNB youth. Marking a significant implementation milestone for this initiative, the Governor has announced that the Office of Mental Health is now soliciting proposals for this new funding, which will support community-based supportive and preventative services to underserved youth and young adults identifying as TGNCNB and inclusive of those who are questioning or struggling with gender identity.
Nearly one in five transgender and nonbinary youth attempted suicide, according to a 2022 report issued by the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth. About three-quarters of transgender and nonbinary youth reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety, and nearly two-thirds reported experiencing symptoms of depression, the report found after surveying roughly 34,000 LGBTQ youth between the ages 13 to 24.
This new funding opportunity builds on the Lorena Borjas Transgender and Non-Binary Wellness and Equity Fund and brings the total investment of state agency funding into this initiative to $3 million for FY 2024. Additionally, Governor Hochul announced that the Department of Health will release a funding opportunity later this month in connection with this initiative, prioritizing TGNCNB-led and staffed organizations that provide services to TGNCNB communities and making millions of dollars in state funding available to support critical services for this community.
Additionally, Governor Hochul is taking action to strengthen New York State as a model employer for TGNCNB employees. The Office of Employee Relations is releasing an email pronoun guide to executive agencies, which outlines the importance of pronouns and best practices around their use.
The guide will help state employees include their pronouns in their email signatures, as well as direct employees to OER’s Gender Identity Toolkit, which summarizes best practices for supporting TGNCNB employees in the workplace. The Office of General Services is also issuing guidance, which directs agencies to utilize a new standard sign for single occupancy, gender-neutral bathrooms in state-owned or -operated facilities.
The updated signage focuses on functionality and accessibility, rather than on the gender binary, making bathrooms more inclusive and affirming at state agencies. These actions represent an important step forward in the state’s ongoing efforts toward inclusion of all New Yorkers, including those of diverse gender identities.