Gender Identity and Expression Protected

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The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which prohibits employment discrimination, among other things, has been amended to add "gender identity or expression" to the list of protected characteristics, which already included sex and sexual orientation.  The law is effective June 17, 2007.  "Gender identity or expression" is defined as "having or being perceived as having a gender related identity or expression whether or not stereotypically associated with a person's assigned sex at birth." The definition refers to transgender individuals, or those who have been assigned one biological gender, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but feel that gender is a false or incomplete description of who they are. Transgender individuals include transsexuals (people who strongly identify with being a member of the opposite biological sex and may seek to live as a member of that sex by undergoing surgery and/or hormone therapy to obtain the necessary physical appearance), transvestites (people who adopt the dress and often the behavior typical of the opposite sex but, unlike transsexuals, do not wish to change sexes) and those who appear androgynous (people who identify as neither specifically masculine nor specifically feminine).