Shauna Marie O’Toole announced her campaign for the 54th state Senate District seat back in November at a Geneva Women’s Assembly meeting. A former Eastman Kodak scientist and Sodus High School teacher, O’Toole has since ramped up her campaign via social media and is kickstarting a series of “unofficial office hours” — the first one was Jan. 15 at Monaco’s Coffee in Geneva.
An employee at the Wegmans in Geneva, O’Toole volunteers with the Out Alliance, formerly the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley, coordinating programs for the 35-and-over transgender community. A member of the transgender community herself, about a decade ago O’Toole made the transition from a man to a woman. She founded a nonprofit, We Exist Coalition of the Finger Lakes, which serves the transgender/gender expansive community, and she cites her support for GENDA – the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act — as one reason she decided to run.
“The state Senate has refused to even consider this act that would give 200,000 New Yorkers equal protection under the law,” O’Toole said. “This is even more critical now that the U.S. Department of Justice will no longer support transgender people fighting discrimination,” she added, referring to the DOJ arguing that a major civil-rights law does not cover discrimination on the basis of gender identity.