On January 11, New York’s City Council passed Int. No. 1186-A, which amends the New York City Human Rights Law to expand the definition of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender.” Previously, the law defined sexual orientation as meaning “heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality.” The new definition takes a broader view and offers a more nuanced definition that recognizes a spectrum of sexual orientations, including asexuality and pansexuality. As amended, the law defines sexual orientation as:
[A]n individual’s actual or perceived romantic, physical or sexual attraction to other persons, or lack thereof, on the basis of gender. A continuum of sexual orientation exists and includes, but is not limited to, heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, and pansexuality.
The law also offers clarity on the definition of “gender,” and continues to include a person’s gender-related self-image, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic within its scope.
The new law will take effect on May 11, 2018.