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LGBTQ legislation roundup as session ends during Pride Month in New York

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR) — With Pride Month underway in New York, several bills related to the LGBTQ community advanced through the legislature as the end of session loomed. They include bills aimed at honoring the struggle for civil rights in New York City, moderating social media hate, and creating a board for gay, queer, and trans people.

S5532/A1273—passed in both the Assembly and the Senate—would establish the LGBTQ+ Advisory Board, concerned with research and recommendations on statewide issues. The act would amend the executive law by adding Article 45-C, which starts by defining the community as people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, or non-cisgender.

The board would advise the governor on potential economic, professional, cultural, and educational opportunities where the state government can partner with the community. They would undertake studies, conduct research, and put together reports on important issues affecting the queer constituency. They would also make recommendations to state agencies working to develop relevant policies.

The board would comprise 12 members in total, each of whom self-identify as LGBTQ and appointed by different government leaders:

  • Four by the Governor of New York
  • Three by the Temporary President of the State Senate*
  • Three by the Speaker of the Assembly
  • One by the Senate Minority Leader
  • One by the Assembly Minority Leader

*The lieutenant governor is the president of the senate. “Temporary president” is an official post generally filled by the Senate Majority Leader.

Membership on the board would be unpaid, and the standard term would last four years, with a maximum of two consecutive terms. The language of the bill also explicitly bars political operatives from membership. It outlines that appointees to the LGBTQ+ advisory board cannot be a:

  • State legislator
  • Statewide elected official
  • Commissioner of an executive agency appointed by the governor
  • State officer
  • State employee
  • Legislative employee

S7974A/A8970A has also passed both houses of the legislature. It renames Christopher Street-Sheridan Square subway station in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Located at the site of the 1969 riots that launched the gay rights movement, the stop would be renamed Christopher Street-Stonewall National Monument station. The measure directs the MTA to change signs.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal supports both bills, having sponsored the Stonewall subway station rebrand. His spokesperson told Nexstar, “LGBTQ rights and protections are one of Senator Hoylman-Sigal’s biggest priorities. The list of bills we are working on in this area is long.”

The senator’s office highlighted more bills related to the queer community that he’s sponsored. They include:

  • S895A/A6789A or the “Stop Hiding Hate” bill makes social media companies post transparent terms of service for each of their platforms, submit reports of moderation policies and violators to the attorney general’s office, and assess penalties or remedies when terms are violated
  • S7809/A8475 changes the way HIV testing requirements and results can be communicated, which would destigmatize getting tested and help raise rates
  • S7506A/A7687A expands 2023’s “Trans Safe Haven Law” by articulating protections for parents, children, and medical professionals accessing or providing gender-affirming care and IVF; it also adds specific protections for doctors providing care through telemedicine
  • S4603A/A3347A decriminalizes HIV+ people who have consensual sex
  • S3180A/A1829B adds private school students to the Dignity for All Students Act, protecting kids from harassment, bullying, and discrimination, including based on perceived sexual orientation or gender expression
  • S1532/A4576 requires boards of education and school districts to create policies in place specifically for working with trans or nonconforming students without discrimination
  • S2428/A7672 requires schools to teach LGBTQ history and contributions
  • S1537/A10551 is the Student Suicide Prevention Act, requiring educators of grades seven through twelve to address student suicide through policy
  • S3297/A5995 makes it easier in certain circumstances for pharmacists to dispense PrEP, which helps prevent HIV infection, without a prescription
  • S1787/A10259 or the Modern Families Act updates legal definitions of “parent” so courts can recognize when families have more than two parents
  • S183/A2418 amends social services laws to help people with HIV afford housing
  • S3227A makes it easier to access PrEP
  • S1002 makes insurers cover home test kits for sexually transmitted infections

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