2016 in Review: The Movement for Transgender Equality in New Hampshire Moves Full Steam Ahead December 19, 2016

It’s that time of the year: The time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in 2016—and celebrate the important strides we’ve made to advance transgender equality.

The broad-based campaign we built together in the last six months is what laid the groundwork for 2017, when—for first time in eight years—lawmakers will consider amending New Hampshire state law to explicitly protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination.

Here are the top three things we have to celebrate as we look forward to 2017.

1. We launched a diverse, nonpartisan campaign dedicated to passing transgender protections

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The September launch of Freedom New Hampshire marked an historic moment in the fight for transgender equality. Never before has there been such a broad-based, nonpartisan campaign—bringing together law enforcement, business voices, faith leaders, elected officials, advocates, and grassroots supporters alike—that is focused on expanding non-discrimination protections for transgender Granite State and building support for their fair and equal treatment under the law.

 

From day one, we’re proud that the voices of transgender people were front and center. Freedom New Hampshire assisted with the Concord Monitor’s multi-part series, which took a personal look at the lives of transgender Granite Staters and some of the issues many grapple with, including lack of personal and economic security.

And the campaign built a robust digital storytelling hub to profile many brave transgender Granite Staters from across the state. Shana Aisenberg shared her story about finding a supportive work environment at the Community School, after struggling years before with job discrimination because of her gender identity.

There’s also the story of the Huckman family, whose 15-year-old transgender daughter Sarah has had to blaze trails at school to ensure that she—and the transgender students who are sure to come after her—have the same opportunities to participate and compete in athletics and other school activities.

And there’s Rachael Booth, a United States Navy veteran who has dedicated her life to public service to help advance transgender equality and show transgender youth that, if they set their minds to it, they can accomplish their dreams.

2. We saw transgender non-discrimination legislation pre-filed in the state legislature

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In November, Rep. Ed Butler of Hart’s Location announced he was pre-filing a bill for the 2017 session that, if passed, would update New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination to explicitly protect transgender Granite Staters in housing, employment and public accommodations, which includes hospitals, restaurants, stores and other public places.

“No one should be turned away from a public business, kicked out of their home or be fired from a job simply because of who they are. Everyone should be treated fairly and equally under the law.” —Rep. Ed Butler, Hart’s Location

 


This marks an historic moment for the movement for transgender equality. For the first time in eight years, lawmakers will consider extending explicit non-discrimination protections to make transgender Granite Staters equal under the law.

And the timing couldn’t be more urgent. Today, there are record number of transgender people living openly across the United States—two times more now than in 2011. With this increased visibility comes greater public understanding of what it means to be transgender, and greater acceptance of transgender people.

However, at the same time, we’ve seen opponents of equality emboldened. And recent reports show discrimination and violence against transgender people remains rampant.

The bottom line: Discrimination is wrong. And in the state of New Hampshire, where we value freedom above all else, everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally under the law—regardless of their gender identity.

That’s why, in 2017, it’s time we pass transgender protections, once and for all. Click here to send a message to your lawmakers now, urging them to support pending non-discrimination legislation.

3. We held the first-ever statewide Trans Health Summit

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On November 19, Freedom New Hampshire convened leaders in health care, legal experts, school administrators, community advocates and transgender Granite Staters for the first-ever TRANSforming NH Healthcare Summit.

This groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind event was dedicated to fostering open discussion of transgender specific health issues and making sure medical professionals and public officials have the tools they need to provide compassionate care.

TRANSforming NH #TransHealthSummit was a major milestone in Freedom New Hampshire’s work to educate the public about who transgender people are and the unique hardships they face. In addition to an impressive, day-long program of panels from some of the region’s leading experts on transgender healthcare and access, hundreds of Granite Staters from all walks of life came out in support of transgender inclusion.

Ultimately, the #TransHealthSummit is testament to the public willingness to better understand our transgender neighbors and friends—and a growing support for their fair and equal treatment under the law.


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After hitting three major milestones in 2016, our momentum is strong. Next year: We take the fight for transgender equality to the State House. And we’d like to count you among our ranks.

If you support passing non-discrimination protections to ensure transgender Granite Staters are treated fairly and equally under the law, add your name to pledge your support.