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Keene City Council votes unanimously to protect transgender employees

April 24, 2017 by admin

CLICK HERE to read the original article on Sentinel Source.

By Ethan DeWitt

Keene’s City Council voted unanimously last Thursday to add transgender protections to its employee handbook, joining 10 other New Hampshire towns to have done so amid a statewide campaign.

The vote, 11-0, recommends the city manager “include in the employee handbook proper language to include gender identity and transgender identity as a protected class.”

Presently, the city is prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status, veteran status or “any other characteristic protected by law.” The new language was drafted by city attorney Thomas P. Mullins.

Councilors also approved, 11-0, a March 7 letter from Mayor Kendall Lane expressing support for a bill in the state Legislature, HB 478, that would expand gender identity protections across New Hampshire. That bill, which would bar any employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity throughout New Hampshire, with exceptions given to religious organizations, was tabled in March after fierce disagreement in the N.H. House.

Thursday’s employee handbook change, by contrast, only affects city employees.

Proposed by Councilors Carl B. Jacobs and Bettina Chadbourne, the council motion comes as transgender rights have gained in prominence in recent months, both across New Hampshire and around the country.

But Jacobs and Chadbourne said the idea came from a student activist from the University of New Hampshire, Doug Marino, who contacted the councilors asking that they consider it.

Marino, a junior from Stratton, has been contacting a range of towns and cities in New Hampshire, hoping to encourage similar gender identity non-discrimination language in employment policies, and to add local momentum to the effort to change state law.

Speaking Sunday after the vote, Chadbourne praised Marino’s efforts, citing a letter he had written to the council urging the change.

An April 13 meeting of the council’s Finance and Organization Personnel Committee featured testimony from transgender people living in Keene on the importance of the motion, Chadbourne said.

Looking at the vote’s impact, she added she hopes the vote will send a strong message.

“I’m really happy that it went through, and I think it takes a lot of courage to choose to live your truth — to be who you really are,” she said. “We all should be able to live our lives with dignity.”

Other councilors appear to agree. Speaking ahead of the vote Thursday, Councilor Mitch Greenwald called the motion one of the more meaningful actions he’d been involved with, adding “It should have been there the whole time.”

And Lane supported the signal it would send to Concord.

“The strong position that the city of Keene and the City Council takes in regard to gender identity I think is incredibly important, both locally and at the state level,” he said.

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Keene becomes latest city to protect transgender city employees from discrimination

April 21, 2017 by admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2017
Owen Loftus | [email protected] | 719-406-6564
www.FreedomNewHampshire.org

CONCORD, N.H. — The Keene City Council unanimously approved a resolution protecting transgender city employees from discrimination on Thursday night.

Linds Jakows, campaign manager for Freedom New Hampshire, released the following statement regarding the measure’s passage:

“We at Freedom New Hampshire are elated that the Keene City Council recognizes the importance of treating all of its employees fairly. This demonstrates that the Granite State is ready for explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender people statewide. The fact is that every employee should be judged based on their quality of work, not on their gender identity.

“While this is an important resolution, it’s important to remember that not everyone in New Hampshire is free to be who they are. That’s because New Hampshire is the only state in New England that does not protect its transgender residents from discrimination in employment, housing or public spaces. We hope that lawmakers will see resolutions like Keene’s and recognize that every Granite Stater should have the opportunity to live their life without having to fear discrimination.”

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Keene Becomes Twelfth New Hampshire City to Pass Transgender Non-Discrimination Policies

April 21, 2017 by admin

Last night the Keene City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution extending local non-discrimination protections to transgender city workers.

The resolution also serves a formal endorsement of #TransBillNH and sends a strong message to state lawmakers that it’s time to take action to advance non-discrimination protections for transgender people across the state. Keene follows in the footsteps of Lebanon, and ten other cities that have advanced transgender-inclusive policies.

Dozens of #TransBillNH supporters RSVP’ed to attend last night’s city council meeting to show support for the non-discrimination resolution and urge its passage.

Now, transgender people who have devoted their lives to public service will be able to live and work without the fear that they will be fired or denied a promotion just because of their gender identity.

Local transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws are increasingly important as New Hampshire remains the only state in the northeast without statewide protections on the basis of gender identity.

“This is an important resolution, it’s important to remember that not everyone in New Hampshire is free to be who they are.” –Linds Jakows, Campaign Manager Freedom New Hampshire

While Freedom New Hampshire applauds Keene for taking the step to ensure local transgender city workers are guaranteed fair and equal treatment on the job—ultimately, a patchwork of protections leave too many transgender people vulnerable to discrimination; and it creates confusion for businesses, law enforcement, and other officials who are charged with implementing and navigating a web of conflicting laws.

Campaign Manager Linds Jakows said: “The fact is that every employee should be judged based on their quality of work, not on their gender identity. While this is an important resolution, it’s important to remember that not everyone in New Hampshire is free to be who they are.”

Freedom New Hampshire will continue to fight at the local and state level until New Hampshire passes #TransBillNH to join all other states in the northeast in protecting transgender people from discrimination in housing, employments, and public places.

For now, congratulations to Keene for striking out as a leader for freedom and equality of opportunity—and to the transgender people working with the city who can now live free of the fear of discrimination.

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Keene Adds Transgender Protections to City Anti-Discrimination Policy

April 21, 2017 by admin
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Manchester school board should affirm health care for trans community

April 17, 2017 by admin
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The Next Phase of Our Campaign to Pass #TransBillNH: House Parties

April 12, 2017 by admin

In the weeks since #TransBillNH was tabled for the year, advocates for this bill have been assessing what grassroots tactics worked well this year, and what we need to do going forward to grow support for transgender non-discrimination protections.

One of the most important tools in our toolbox is our volunteers—specifically, volunteers who are willing to share their personal stories of discrimination, or other experiences that have led them to support full transgender equality.

During this year’s push to pass #TransBillNH, many transgender Granite Staters and allies stood up to tell these stories, first at February’s lunch with lawmakers and then at the packed Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee hearing, after which lawmakers recommended the bill for passage 15–2.

But we know that some state lawmakers never got a chance to hear the experiences of transgender people and their real accounts of discrimination at either of these events. That’s why our next step in building support for #TransBillNH is inviting lawmakers to attend house parties in cities and towns across New Hampshire.

That way, lawmakers who are undecided on #TransBillNH can meet—in person—with transgender constituents and their families, coworkers, and friends, allowing them to better understand the need for a law that protects transgender Granite Staters and their loved ones from discrimination.

Right now, we know that hundreds of lawmakers support extending non-discrimination protections to transgender Granite Staters under state law.

But the bottom line is: We need a majority of lawmakers on our side to pass #TransBillNH. That’s what these house parties will achieve.

Click here to let us know you can host or attend a house party in the coming weeks and we will follow up with more information shortly.

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WATCH: Manchester, New Hampshire, School Board Tables Vote on Transgender Health Care

April 11, 2017 by admin
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WATCH: Lebanon approves policy to protect transgender employees

April 6, 2017 by admin
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Lebanon City Council Votes Unanimously to Pass a City Resolution Protecting Transgender Municipal Employees

April 6, 2017 by admin

On Wednesday, April 5th the Lebanon City Council was scheduled to consider a resolution that would add “gender identity” to the list of classes protected under the city’s anti-harassment laws.

The resolution also serves as an official endorsement of #TransBillNH (HB 478), legislation that stalled in the New Hampshire Legislature earlier this year, and seeks to update statewide non-discrimination laws to protect transgender people in housing, employment, and public places.

Yesterday evening, the Lebanon City Council passed the transgender non-discrimination resolution by unanimous vote.

Freedom New Hampshire Campaign Manager Linds Jakows applauded the resolution’s passage and called local protections necessary in the absence of a statewide law: “City-based resolutions like this one can be one more step on the path to extending critically needed protections to all transgender people and their families. Such resolutions also testify to the fact that the vast majority of Granite Staters believe that everyone should be protected from discrimination.”

Freeodom New Hampshire helped rally the many supporters who attended the Lebanon City Council meeting to show support for protecting transgender city workers from discrimination. No one testified in opposition to the resolution.

Now, the city’s anti-harassment policy—which already bans physical, verbal or visual discrimination of city workers based on a variety of classes, including race, religion, age, sexual orientation, and disability status, among others—will also cover “gender identity.”

This is an important victory for transgender municipal employees in Lebanon, who can go to work confident now, and free of the fear that they might be fired or denied a promotion just because of who they are.

“City-based resolutions like this one can be one more step on the path to extending critically needed protections to all transgender people and their families.” – Linds Jakows, Campaign Manager Freedom New Hampshire

It’s also a win for the city of Lebanon at large. Valley News reported that residents of the city already consider fairness, freedom, and non-discrimination to be core to who they are. The unanimous passage of this resolution brings the city laws in line with the values of its people.

And lastly, the passage of the citywide resolution shows that public support for transgender non-discrimination laws is growing. As more cities join Lebanon in protecting their transgender workers, momentum will continue to grow in support of a statewide law like #TransBillNH that ensures every single transgender person who lives and works in the Granite State can live freely and fully without the threat of discrimination.

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Lebanon council unanimously approves transgender inclusive resolution

April 6, 2017 by admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2017
Owen Loftus | [email protected] | 719-406-6564
www.FreedomNewHampshire.org

CONCORD, N.H. — The Lebanon City Council unanimously adopted a resolution protecting transgender city workers, contractors and volunteers from discrimination. The measure also served as an official endorsement of a proposed statewide law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people and their families in housing, employment and public spaces, such as stores, restaurants and hospitals.

Linds Jakows, campaign manager for Freedom New Hampshire, released the following statement celebrating the Lebanon City Council’s actions:

“This was a badly needed update to Lebanon’s current anti-harassment policies. Freedom New Hampshire thanks the Lebanon City Council for passing this important resolution. City-based resolutions like this one can be one more step on the path to extending critically needed protections to all transgender people and their families. Such resolutions also testify to the fact that the vast majority of Granite Staters believe that everyone should be protected from discrimination. We hope the state legislature will heed this advice and adopt explicit nondiscrimination protections for their transgender constituents statewide in the near future.”

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Lebanon Approves Policy Banning Discrimination Of Transgender Workers

April 6, 2017 by admin
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