Transgender laws

New laws bring stiff penalties to businesses that discriminate against transgender people.

Employers, landlords and businesses in NYC could be fined up to $250,000 if caught purposely discriminating against a transgender person.

That's according to new guidelines released by city officials in December, described as the most powerful guidelines to date on gender discrimination. The rules strengthen an existing law from 2002, creating more legal protections for trans or gender non-conforming people.

Violations of the law include: failing to use a preferred name given by a person, restricting a person to a certain bathroom or locker room and requiring a dress code based on sex.

Jennifer Lopez of Everything Trans in New York view the guidelines as an improvement.

"I think more or less it will be trans people advocating for themselves when an employer says, Hey look you need to use this bathroom or hey look you need to dress this way. And, now a trans person can be like, No I don't," Lopez said.

Lopez says the main issue is enforcement when it comes to proving the discrimination took place.

"You need to have a phone and be ready to record in two seconds. It's a one consent state and anyone can record without that person's knowledge," said Lopez.

Currently, there are around 25,000 transgender and gender non-conforming people living in New York City. Mayor De Blasio has since praised the decision, saying it ensures respect and dignity for everyone in New York.

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