ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP)– A new regulation protecting transgender New Yorkers from discrimination is taking effect.

The change, which became effective on Wednesday, expands the state’s existing anti-discrimination rules to prohibit discrimination against a transgender person when it comes to jobs, loans, schools and public accommodations.

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The state already prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, disability and gender.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his executive power last year to order the expansion after legislation that would have prohibited discrimination based on gender identity failed in the state Senate.

The governor said existing laws didn’t go far enough to protect the rights of all state residents. He directed the state’s Division of Human Rights to issue a regulation that would interpret the anti-discrimination law to prohibit discrimination against transgender people.

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“It is clear that the fair legal interpretation and definition of a person’s sex includes gender identity and gender expression,” Cuomo said while announcing the policy change in October. “It is intolerable to allow discrimination of transgender individuals, and they are one of the most abused, harassed groups in society today.”

Cuomo said he was righting the wrong that occurred when transgender protection was dropped in a 2002 gay discrimination act because lawmakers did not believe it would pass.

“The law protected lesbians, gays and bisexuals, but the law left out the T, so to speak,” he said.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia already prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals.

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