ALBANY, N.Y. -- An amendment to Albany County's human rights law proposed by the Chairman of the Albany County Legislature aims to better protect transgender rights.
Legislator Shawn Morse is the lead sponsor for the amendment that will make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of ones gender identity or gender expression.
"This is about basic human rights," said Morse. "We all deserve to be treated equally under the law and to pursue our happiness without fear of discrimination. Members of the transgender community will now have that opportunity in Albany County."
For La'mia Aiken, her journey of transforming from a man to a woman has had its ups and downs. As an advocate for transgender rights she says she sees how negatively her community is impacted by what she says is society's lack of understanding and knowledge.
"We're often overlooked and our struggles are not understood," she said. "It's really unfair that we are judged on a merit of what society projects a transgender to be, and it can be discouraging."
Aiken believes the proposal could change her life and others who identify as transgender.
"It would add to confidence. Like I said, it helps solidify that our politicians have our back."
Aiken says it can be extremely difficult to find housing and even a job for those like her who identify as a sex other than the one they were born as, something she hopes the proposed amendment would change.
"It alleviates discrimination at work. I feel that transgender women of color will be able to gainfully be employed."
The proposal is just that at this point, a proposal, and will need approval by the County Legislature.
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