This July 4th, like every Independence Day, we’ll be celebrating the many freedoms we enjoy as Americans—including the freedom to speak out against injustice and discrimination.
This year, Independence Day will be especially poignant for our nation’s transgender veterans, coming as it does on the heels of the 1-year anniversary marking the Defense Department’s decision to end its discriminatory policy prohibiting open service for transgender Americans.
But Independence Day also reminds us of the work that still needs to be done to ensure that everyone, no matter who they are or who they love, has access to the rights and freedoms guaranteed to all Americans. It reminds us that transgender Granite Staters—like Rosaline Aurora—are still not explicitly protected from discrimination in New Hampshire.
Rosaline is a transgender veteran who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a soldier, Rosaline says she fought for all Americans to be able to live the way they choose—a freedom that active service members can now exercise, but that isn’t explicitly protected in her home state.
“As a soldier I fought for the freedoms to live the way we choose, and I am only looking for the same opportunity to do so.” —Rosaline Aurora, Manchester
Still, Rosaline says, she has felt a lot freer, and a lot safer, since she moved to New Hampshire from North Carolina. Rosaline made the decision to leave North Carolina after the state passed its disastrous House Bill 2, a law that bans transgender people from using the restroom that matches the gender they live as everyday.
“I really feared that I would lose my job and my apartment, so I moved up here to be safe and live in peace,” she says.
Even though Rosaline had to leave her job in order to move to New Hampshire, she says it’s been worth it. Now she’s back in school, hoping to get more of the skills she’ll need to compete in the modern workforce.
And the broad coalition of support that she’s seen for #TransBillNH has only made her more confident that she made the right decision to move to New Hampshire.
“Business and representatives should take heed to make New Hampshire a welcoming place for all young people to be judged on the work that they do,” she says, “including those of who are transgender.” —Rosaline
“When I heard [about HB 478], I was extremely hopeful for the future,” she says. “It was reassuring to see faith leaders, law enforcement, doctors and medical associations, women’s groups, and business leaders all supporting this bill.”
Rosaline is sharing her story with Freedom New Hampshire with the hope that it will spur a change for those who may have doubts about passing #TransBillNH. After all, her story of leaving North Carolina for New Hampshire perfectly demonstrates what can happen when states push discriminatory legislation—young, talented workers leave.
“Business and representatives should take heed to make New Hampshire a welcoming place for all young people to be judged on the work that they do,” she says, “including those of who are transgender.”