ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)-- In 2019, legislators in Albany passed a bill prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or expression. In the wake of national legislation trying to prohibit trans students from fully participating in school sports, some advocates said there is more work to be done.

“We’re lucky to live in New York State, we LGBTQ+ folks have a lot of protections here, but we don’t have all of the protections,” said Meagon Nolasco, Pride Center of the Capitol Region.

The New York State Department of Education has issued guidelines recognizing that title IX protects trans students from being excluded. Title IX is a national education law prohibiting discrimination based on sex. 

But Nolasco said guidance is very different from law and policy. 

“I think when we start to tell our trans athletes, especially our trans youth athletes in school that they’re unable to participate in a school-based sports team because of how they identify, we are really just further stigmatizing these youth,” she said. 

Earlier this year, Attorney General Letitia James announced co-leading a coalition made up of 12 states, about anti-discrimination policies, emphasizing the obligation of schools receiving federal funding to apply criteria consistent with title IX. 

Nolasco said she hopes to see more elected officials come together similarly on this issue. 

Some New York State lawmakers said they plan to protect trans students. 

"I’m glad New York isn’t part of the shameful culture war being waged in other states against transgender children that prohibits them from participating fully in school activities. I was proud to pass the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act in Albany and with my colleagues will fight any attempts to reverse the progress we’ve made to protect the transgender community in our state," Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-47th Senate District) stated in an email to Erie News Now.