Freedom New Hampshire recognizes Transgender Day of Visibility

Owen Loftus | [email protected] | 719-406-6564

CONCORD, N.H. — Today marks the 7th annual Transgender Day of Visibility. The observance takes place on March 31 of every year, and was created to raise awareness about transgender individuals, their important contributions to society and to educate the public about the unique challenges and discrimination they face.

This year’s TDOV comes in the same month that the New Hampshire legislature blocked a bill to update the state’s civil rights laws to include explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender individuals in housing, employment and public spaces, such as hospitals, parks and stores. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that does not extend these nondiscrimination protections to transgender residents.

“This has been a bittersweet year for New Hampshire’s transgender community,” Linds Jakows, campaign manager of Freedom New Hampshire, said. “While we are deeply disappointed that the legislature refused to protect transgender people from discrimination, we are proud of the momentous strides Freedom New Hampshire and our allied partners have made in introducing elected officials, business leaders and the general public. We still have a lot of work to do, and the Transgender Day of Visibility is the perfect opportunity to continue our educational efforts.”

This year, Freedom New Hampshire is recognizing this important day by encouraging Granite Staters to take part in the #EveryoneWelcome campaign. With this campaign, participants make a short 30-60 second video to shine a light on the transgender community and to let them know they are are a welcome and important part of society.

“By taking part in the #EveryoneWelcome campaign, Granite Staters from all walks of life can show the rest of the world that we support freedom and opportunity for everyone, including transgender people and their families.”

To learn more about the #EveryoneWelcome campaign, please visit:


Granite Staters Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility With #EveryoneWelcome Message of Inclusion

March 31, 2017 by admin

Today we’re celebrating the 7th-annual Transgender Day of Visibility, a day for publicly highlighting the accomplishments of the transgender community and the challenges they face.

This week, transgender Granite Staters and allies have been gearing up for TDOV by sharing videos on social media under the hashtag #EveryoneWelcome, a nationwide campaign that encourages supporters of transgender equality to share a personal message of solidarity.

Granite Staters have a lot to celebrate this year—most notably, #TransBillNH’s record-level of support in the legislature this session, as well as the renewed legislative momentum for these critical non-discrimination protections.

On Tuesday, Portsmouth City Councilor Nancy Pearson posted a video in which she spoke candidly about some of her own fears, making the point that although we all have fears, no one should have to fear being discriminated against because of who they are. Yet those are exactly the fears transgender Granite Staters face every day, since New Hampshire has no statewide law  prohibiting anti-transgender discrimination in housing, employment, and public places like restaurants, hotels, and doctors offices.

Taking inspiration from Councilor Pearson was Freedom New Hampshire supporter Mitchel Noah. Mitchel says in his video that he’s choosing to be visible on TDOV because when he came out as transgender, he didn’t have many public role models. He wants to make coming out easier for others.

“On Transgender Day Of Visibility, I am Visible because back in 2004- 2005 when I first started to recognize that my gender identity did not match who people thought I was, I did not have many role models. I am visible to let people know that there are others like them, that they are not alone, and that transgender people can and do have happy, productive, full lives.” –Mitchel Noah

The ACLU of New Hampshire, which has been a major ally in the push to pass transgender non-discrimination protections, was also getting in the spirit this week.

Today, we would like to invite all supporters of transgender equality in New Hampshire to tweet @FreedomNH_ with their stories about what it’s like to be transgender in the Granite State and messages of inclusion.

And if you need a little inspiration for crafting your #TDOV message, click here to learn more about the #EveryoneWelcome campaign and how to create your own video.


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Portsmouth City Councilor Takes to Social Media for #EveryoneWelcome Campaign to Highlight Support for Transgender Non-discrimination

March 28, 2017 by admin

Portsmouth City Councilor Nancy Pearson is speaking out in support of transgender non-discrimination, and she’s using Facebook to do it.

Councilor Pearson posted a personal and heartfelt video this morning as part of the #EveryoneWelcome campaign, a nationwide social media campaign that asks users to make a short video that shines a light on who transgender people are and sends the message that they are welcome in all public spaces.


In it, she talks about her fears—some big, some small—making the point that although we all have fears, no one should have to fear being discriminated against because of who they are. Yet that’s the fear that transgender people face every day in New Hampshire, where the state non-discrimination law does not include protections on the basis of “gender identity.”

Councilor Pearson released her video in support of transgender non-discrimination to coincide with Friday’s Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOR), a celebration of the transgender community that occurs annually on March 31st.

The #EveryoneWelcome campaign is also ramping up for TDOR. If you support transgender equality and want to participate, it’s easy:

  1. Think about what you want to say in support of transgender equality.
  2. Record a 30-60 second video of yourself speaking your mind.
  3. Post your video to social media using the hashtag #EveryoneWelcome and #TransBillNH.

And if you need help on what to say, click here for inspiration and to learn more about the campaign.


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Say ‘Thanks’ to the 179 Lawmakers Who Chose Not to Table #TransBillMA During This Month’s Momentous House Vote

March 23, 2017 by admin

It’s been nearly two weeks since the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to table #TransBillNH, ending the chance that transgender non-discrimination protections would become the law of the land during the 2017 legislative session.

But although we did not succeed in passing #TransBillNH this year, the future of this legislation and our movement is strong.

Over the last several months, we’ve racked up endorsements from some of New Hampshire’s leading business and public policy organizations, turned out thousands of grassroots advocates, and garnered the support of 179 representatives who voted not to table #TransBillNH.


Freedom New Hampshire would like to extend a big show of thanks to these 179 members, who showed true political courage when they voted to give #TransBillNH the fair hearing it deserved. Not only did their vote show a commitment to a democratic, solutions-oriented legislative process; it sent a message to transgender people across the Granite State: We see you and we respect you.

The 179 lawmakers who voted not to table #TransBillNH recognized how life-changing it would be for transgender Granite Staters—who frequently face discrimination and harassment because of their gender identity—to finally be protected under the law in the state they call home.

And they heeded the sound, practical advice of the Business and Industry Association, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, and the New Hampshire Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, who testified that #TransBillNH is necessary to keep our communities safe and our economy strong.

Throughout this campaign, transgender Granite Staters have bravely shared their stories time and again—calling, writing letters and testifying before lawmakers. These 179 votes show that these efforts were not in vain. One-on-one contact between lawmakers and constituents can drive broad support, and will be critical in the fight to pass #TransBillNH down the  road.

Because this legislative session marks the beginning, not the end, of a renewed push to pass #TransBillNH, we’re asking supporters to send a message thanking lawmakers who voted not to table the legislation, and encouraging lawmakers who did vote to table to reconsider the reasons #TransBillNH is so important.

Click here to find your lawmaker and send them a message now.


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Editorial: Two reasons for New Hampshire to be embarrassed

March 14, 2017 by admin

CLICK HERE to read the original editorial at the Concord Monitor.

New Hampshire House Republicans have proven once again that the only young people they are interested in attracting to the state are those who can travel here via time machine from the 17th century.

The latest bit of evidence came on Thursday, when a bill to raise the marriage age to 18 was killed by lawmakers, many of whom claimed to have concerns about the effect the new law would have on 18-year-old enlisted men with even younger girlfriends. Lawmakers essentially decided it is better to continue to allow middle school children to tie the knot than create the possibility that a young soldier might have to hold off on marriage until his would-be spouse is old enough to vote. But the soldier argument has the feel of a red herring. This is about mandating “conservative family values.”

We are aware that the passage of time is no guarantee for human progress, but who in their right mind would consider the marriage of a 13-year-old girl to be a good thing for society? The answer is lawmakers like Rep. David Bates of Windham, who suggested that the only thing worse than a pregnant middle schooler is an unmarried pregnant middle-schooler.

Bates said, “If we pass this, we will ensure forever that every child born to a minor will be born out of wedlock.” He makes the claim as if allowing a marriage between a young boy and a young, pregnant girl would magically create family stability and guarantee a bright future for the baby. It sure didn’t work out that way for a 13-year-old pregnant girl who married her 17-year-old boyfriend in Newmarket four years ago. As reported by Shawne Wickham in the New Hampshire Union Leader, a judge gave the two permission to marry on May 8, 2013, and the girl filed for divorce four months later, citing infidelity and domestic abuse.

Lawmakers could have kept working on the bill but decided instead to postpone it on a 179-168 vote, and that means it can’t come up for debate again for two years. That’s a long time for New Hampshire to be stuck in the Dark Ages on marriage law, but it’s certainly not the only way Republicans embarrassed the state last week.

We bet that a lot of the same lawmakers who think it should be legal for a 40-year-old man to marry an eighth-grader also believe transgender people shouldn’t be explicitly protected from discrimination.

In a remarkable display of spineless politicking, Speaker Shawn Jasper and other House Republicans tabled a bill that would have made sure that gender identity couldn’t be used as a reason to deny somebody a home, a job or a seat at a restaurant.

Jasper based his argument on the “bathroom predator myth,” which was crafted by anti-LGBT groups and peddled as fact to Republicans who are more than willing to accept it without evidence. Law enforcement officials in more than a dozen states with nondiscrimination protections for transgender people, including every state in New England except New Hampshire, have debunked the claim that men pretend to be transgender to gain access to women’s bathrooms. It doesn’t happen. It’s a story told with the hope that lawmakers like Jasper will embrace and repeat it without actually doing any research or critical thinking.

If you put your ear to the ground near Representatives Hall, the silence you hear is young people staying away from a state that seems to excel at making headlines for all the wrong reasons.


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March 11, 2017 by admin

What We Accomplished: Broad Coalition In Support of #TransBillNH Shows We Are Not Giving Up, Just Getting Started

March 10, 2017 by admin

Yesterday was a tough day for transgender Granite Staters and other supporters of equality. After we spent months building unprecedented momentum for #TransBillNH, 187 representatives took the coward’s way out and voted to table the bill, effectively ending its chances of being passed this year.

But although we didn’t succeed in passing transgender non-discrimination protections, this effort was certainly not a loss. In the runup to yesterday’s disappointing vote, we notched several victories and built the statewide infrastructure we’ll need to pass #TransBillNH next time.

Unprecedented bipartisan support

This year, we showed definitively that supporting transgender non-discrimination is not a partisan issue. #TransBillNH had 11 co-sponsors, including three Republicans, and the GOP-led Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs (HHS) Committee overwhelmingly recommended that the bill “out to pass,” 15–2.

And during House deliberations, 16 Republicans bucked Speaker Shawn Jasper’s leadership directive and voted to preserve open debate on the bill.

Major endorsements

#TransBillNH also secured the support of some of New Hampshire’s leading business, public safety and women’s rights groups, most notably the Business and Industry Association, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police.

These groups were with us because the bottom line is, statewide transgender non-discrimination protections would help our economy and keep our communities safe. The best and brightest want to live and work in a state where their rights will be protected, and where they will be protected from violence. Not having these protections on the books puts New Hampshire at a serious disadvantage compared to every other state in the Northeast, which already do.

Representatives from the BIA, NHCASDV and the Chiefs of Police testified to this during February’s HHS Committee hearing. Unfortunately, some lawmakers chose not to listen.

Incredible grassroots support

The outpouring of grassroots activity from individual Granite Staters over the last few months shows that support for transgender non-discrimination is bigger than ever.

Before yesterday’s final vote to table #TransBillNH, advocates for #TransBillNH had sent more than 23,500 emails to lawmakers, made more than 600 phone calls to their state representatives and had dozens of face-to-face conversations with lawmakers.

Thousands of these calls and emails happened in the few hours between when the House adjourned on Tuesday and the final vote was called on Wednesday, demonstrating that we have built a massive statewide coalition that’s able to spring into action at a moment’s notice—and that will be a critical part of our winning strategy next time.

Transgender Granite Staters speaking up

Our biggest accomplishment this year? Empowering transgender people to make their voices heard. Over the last year, dozens of transgender Granite Staters and their families told their stories publicly, some for the first time.

They told their stories online as part of our New Hampshire Voices for Freedom spotlight. Transgender individuals like Matt Aversa, Kaden Michael, and Gerri Cannon spoke about being discriminated against in the workplace, a situation enabled by New Hampshire’s lack of employment non-discrimination protections for transgender people.

And families like the Hegartys and the Huckmans told stories about the challenges their transgender children face because of New Hampshire’s lack of public accommodations protections, including fighting to be included on school sports teams and to do something as simple as use the restroom.

Other transgender Granite Staters like Kenzo Morris—who was discriminated against at the DMV—and Tygh Lawrence-Clarke—who faced barriers to receiving proper health care—showed that New Hampshire’s lack of statewide transgender non-discrimination protections can affect literally every aspect of transgender Granite Staters’ lives.  

Many chose to also share their stories with lawmakers, both at informal gatherings like February’s working lunch, and during the packed HHS Committee meeting where these stories helped persuade 15 committee members to do the right thing and advance #TransBillNH to the full House.

So even though we did not pass #TransBillNH this year, it’s clearer than ever that New Hampshire is ready for statewide transgender non-discrimination protections, and that we have the coalition of support we need to win.