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Now, I should point out from the start that I am an old hippie.  So the thought of measuring human misery in monetary terms totally disgusts me.

But I also know that addressing the topic of money is the only way to get the interest of some people.  

On May 7 the Williams Institute's Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow, Jody L. Herman, published a new study pointing out that discrimination against New York's transgender population costs the state millions of dollars in public assistance, housing expenditures and lost income tax revenue.

Discrimination harms individuals, but is also costs the state.  New York would not only protect individuals by passing a state-wide anti-discrimination statute,  it could also reduce the costs associated with discrimination.

--Jody Herman

According to the 2010 Census 23,800 New York transgender residents live in areas of the state that are not covered by local ordinances which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other areas (credit, education, etc).  That is 41% of the state's transgender population.

Herman's analysis indicates that passage of protections for transgender people from discrimination would result in savings in the following areas:

  • Employment discrimination costs the state more than $1 million in Medicaid expenditures.
  • Housing discrimination in the state may cost from $475,000 to $5.9 million annually in federal and state housing program expenses and other costs related to homelessness.
  • Transgender workers could generate millions of dollars in income tax revenues if employment discrimination were reduced or eliminated.

Estimates are that 11,600 transgender people in New York have lost a job, 21,500 were not hired for a job, 11,600 were denied a promotion, 11,000 have been denied housing and 4,600 have been evicted due to anti-transgender bias.

Seven cities (Albany, Binghampton, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, and Syracuse) and three counties (Suffolk, Tompkins, and Westchester) in New York have ordinances that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  Those local areas represent 59% of the New York population.

According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 19% of transgender people earn less that $10K per year.  This would translate into 4,500 transgender residents of New York.  Only 5% of the general population is in this category.  Thus 3,300 additional transgender people would be earning more than $10K per year.

It is difficult to measure exactly the amount of tax dollars represented here, but if all 3,300 of these people moved from $10K to $25K, that would represent an additional $817 in tax revenue per person, of about $2.7 million per year.

That is probably an underestimate given that educational attainment of the transgender population is generally higher than the population as a whole.

Adding it all up, discrimination just in employment and housing costs the state as much as 9.7 million dollars per year.

It shocks the conscience that nearly 24,000 New Yorkers can be fired from their jobs or be evicted from their homes merely because of their gender identity or expression.

--state senator Brad Holyman

Change.org has a petition you can sign.  the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) has passed the Assembly every year since 2008, but can't even get a floor vote in the Senate.

You can meet some of the individual people affected by the discrimination at housingworks.org.

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