Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Ban On Transgender Service Members

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Transgender Constituents & Allies Gather in Windham to Share Their Experiences with Local Lawmakers

October 27, 2017 by admin

House parties—a critical components of our strategy to pass #TransBillNH—are ramping up, and drawing incredible crowds excited to make the case for transgender freedom directly to their representatives.

Thursday night’s house party in Windham included more than 20 attendees, predominantly transgender Windham and Derry residents, as well as parents of transgender children. Attendees were able to share their stories with state Reps. Mary Griffin, Walter Kolodziej and Charles McMahon.

Constituents were happy to thank Rep. Charles McMahon, who voted to pass #TransBillNH as a member of the House Health and Human Services Committee who voted on the bill this past spring. McMahon also voted against the tabling of the bill, and has recently signed on as a co-sponsor of #TransBillNH.

Tricia Hughes, a mother of a trans son, hosted the house party. Three other mothers attended, but asked to not be identified to protect their children’s privacy. They have children who are navigating schools that are less than supportive, or their children are accepted as the gender they identify with but are not out as transgender.

One college-aged transgender teen, Lee, spoke about having to keep his transgender identity a secret at a summer job he loved for fear of getting fired. He is hoping to find a more accepting workplace in New Hampshire this summer.

Tygh and Sandra Lawrence-Clark were in attendance with their son, sharing their story of discrimination in hospital settings, among other experiences. Several others shared similar stories, but asked that those stories not be shared publicly out of fears for their own safety.

Some of the representatives in attendance freely admitted that they were unfamiliar with the issue, but that they were eager to learn more—and that they wouldn’t let a lack of understanding get in the way of striving to support their transgender constituents.

We applaud the representatives in attendance and plan to follow up with more Windham and Derry representatives who were unable to attend. If you’re interested in inviting your local lawmakers to a house party—or simply attending one in your town—sign up.

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Join Us on Nov. 1st at Our Second Volunteer Action Night for #TransBillNH!

October 25, 2017 by admin

The next legislative session is fast approaching, and we need to get every single one of our supporters plugged into our campaign as soon as possible if we want to start the session with enough momentum to pass #TransBillNH.

To do that, we’re hosting weekly volunteer events—but the biggest events are our monthly Volunteer Action Nights, a time for all volunteers, new and old, to come together and discuss our grassroots strategy.

Our second Volunteer Action Night is next Wednesday, November 1 from 6–8 PM at the Eagle Square Deli in Concord. RSVP to let us know you can make it.

Like last time, our night will kick off with snacks and an in-depth training on our outreach strategies and tactics. This training will give you all the tools you need to get started as a volunteer on a range of tasks, including:

These are the best ways you can help right now, and what our trainings will focus on next week. But if there’s another way you’d like to get involved, come see us at next week’s Volunteer Action Night and tell us!

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Vote allows Medicaid funds to be used for gender reassignment surgeries

October 19, 2017 by admin
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NH Lawmakers Lift Prohibition on Medicaid Coverage for Gender Affirmation Care

October 19, 2017 by admin

Today, members of the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules voted in favor of lifting the New Hampshire Medicaid program’s prohibition on covering gender affirmation surgery.

That means no longer will transgender Medicaid patients have their access to essential care dictated by a discriminatory government policy. Instead, those medical decisions can be made between patients and doctors, not by politicians.

Today’s meeting was the final step in a process that started last month, when the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) signed off on this change.

This is a big victory for transgender Granite Staters, and we’re celebrating. But not only is this a victory for today—it’s the burst of momentum we need right as lawmakers are meeting to discuss their legislative plans for the next session.

Removing this discriminatory Medicaid rule was simply a question of freedom and fairness. Transgender Granite Staters should have the freedom to make their own personal medical decisions, and laws and rules should treat everyone fairly.

That’s the argument we made today, and a majority of lawmakers agreed. And that’s exactly why we need to pass #TransBillNH: New Hampshire law must treat transgender people fairly, and that means protecting transgender people from discrimination.

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New Hampshire Advocates Applaud End to Discriminatory Health Care Exclusion of Transition-related Surgeries from Medicaid Coverage

October 19, 2017 by admin

Contact:
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen
[email protected] / 305-904-2392

Concord, NH –  Transgender nondiscrimination advocates applauded today’s vote by the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR) to approve proposed regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services that will end the discriminatory exclusion from Medicaid coverage of gender transition-related surgeries.

“Transgender people need and deserve access to health care just like everyone else,” said Linds Jakows, Campaign Manager, Freedom NH. “There is no legitimate reason to exclude medical treatment that the health care community agrees is medically-necessary from the state’s Medicaid program. Ending this discriminatory exclusion will make New Hampshire a healthier and more free place for transgender residents. When the next legislative session resumes in January, we call on our lawmakers to continue fighting discrimination by updating the state’s nondiscrimination law to explicitly include transgender residents.”

Gender reassignment surgery is medically necessary for some transgender people experiencing gender dysphoria. Ending the exclusion of gender reassignment surgery from covered services under the state’s Medicaid program brings New Hampshire into consensus with the medical professional community – including major medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the World Health Organization – and into compliance with federal regulations under the Affordable Care Act.

“We applaud New Hampshire for taking this straightforward but important step to ensure that transgender people in the Granite State have equal access to medically-necessary health care,” said Devon Chafee, Executive Director, ACLU-NH.

“With the adoption of these regulations today, New Hampshire is not only ending a discriminatory practice, it is ensuring that the state Medicaid program is in compliance with federal requirements under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act,” said Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.

The new regulation has been signed by Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers, and is officially effective as of Friday, October 20, 2017.

 

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‘Ask A Trans Person Anything’ Panel In Portsmouth Draws Receptive Crowd, Spurs Community Conversation

October 12, 2017 by admin

Dozens of people packed the room last night for the Portsmouth Public Library’s “Ask a Trans Person Anything” panel, an opportunity for anyone who may have questions or concerns about transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws or other issues to have their questions answered by a member of the transgender community.

Panelists fielding the questions included Michael Phoenix, a local musician, AliciaAlec Dufield, who works at a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center, and Joelle Ruby Ryan, a professor of gender studies at the University of New Hampshire.

Also on the panel was Somersworth school board candidate and former tech-industry worker Gerri Cannon, who has previously shared her experience with anti-transgender employment discrimination with Freedom New Hampshire.

Audience members were able to ask questions either by a show of hands or by or anonymously submitting notecards. Nothing was off limits, and big topics of discussion included experiences with religion and family, dispelling common misconceptions, and next steps for political action at the state level to ensure transgender people are protected from discrimination.  

“It’s a dicey time, but a time for opportunity. We should be ashamed that we are the only state in New England without transgender non-discrimination protections.” —Professor Joelle Ruby Ryan, UNH

Professor Joelle Ruby Ryan also took a moment to call out the recent decision by the Department of Justice to no longer consider transgender Americans protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to Ryan, that decision is “a wake up call for New Hampshire legislators” that must spur serious legislative action on #TransBillNH in 2018.

“It’s a dicey time, but a time for opportunity,“ Ryan said. “We should be ashamed that we are the only state in New England without transgender non-discrimination protections.”

The tone was consistently respectful, even when audience members admitted they were unfamiliar with the issue. That response means these conversations are having an impact. One of the most effective ways to move lawmakers and community members to action on #TransBillNH is for transgender Granite Staters to have open, honest conversations with community members.

As more people speak out, it becomes clearer why New Hampshire must update its Law Against Discrimination to protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public spaces. 

If you’re a transgender Granite Stater or an ally who supports #TransBillNH, take a moment to share your story with Freedom New Hampshire.

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NH Alone in New England as Trump Rolls Back LGBTQ Protections

October 10, 2017 by admin
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Trans teen kicked out of old school voted homecoming king

October 7, 2017 by admin
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Editorial: Thumbs up to transgender student’s bravery

October 7, 2017 by admin
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Lack of Statewide Non-Discrimination Protections Leave Trans High Schooler Nervous for the Future

October 5, 2017 by admin

Riley—a student at Mascoma High School in Canaan, New Hampshire—began questioning her gender two years ago, at the age of 14. She first came out as gender fluid, but later realized she identified much more as a transgender girl.

While attending a summer leadership program, The NH Teen Institute, she met Reagan Murphy, a student at Southern New Hampshire University who competed in Miss NH beauty pageants with a platform of working for gender, sexual, and romantic minority advocacy. Riley was excited to learn that the Miss NH organization was inclusive of transgender girls competing, and was happy to have Reagan’s mentorship.

“Reagan let me borrow her dresses, did my makeup- everything a big sister would do,” said Riley. “When I got to my first pageant, I was nervous that people might not include me, but in reality, everyone was super nice and accepting.”

Riley won “People’s Choice”—meaning she received the greatest number of votes from the crowd—at her very first competition, the Miss Littleton Area/White Mountain Regions Outstanding Teen competition.

“All my teachers and the staff use the right pronouns for me, but I still can’t use the female restrooms—I have to either use the male or gender-neutral restrooms. It doesn’t feel right to be singled out and treated differently like that,” said Riley. “Hopefully that’s something the school board will vote to change before I graduate.”

“All my teachers and the staff use the right pronouns for me, but I still can’t use the female restrooms—I have to either use the male or gender-neutral restrooms. It doesn’t feel right to be singled out and treated differently like that,” said Riley. “Hopefully that’s something the school board will vote to change before I graduate.” —Riley, Mascoma High School, Canaan

Still, Riley is looking for additional support in her high school community.

“All my teachers and the staff use the right pronouns for me, but I still can’t use the female restrooms—I have to either use the male or gender-neutral restrooms. It doesn’t feel right to be singled out and treated differently like that,” said Riley. “Hopefully that’s something the school board will vote to change before I graduate.”

But unfortunately, Riley’s worries don’t end at school. New Hampshire is one of 32 states without explicit non-discrimination protections for transgender people—which for Riley, poses a lot of very real concerns. Will she face discrimination if she applies for a job? What if she’s kicked out of a restaurant or a local retail shop when she’s out with her family and friends?

The sad reality is, without a statewide law ensuring non-discrimination protections in employment, housing and public spaces, these are real, daily concerns for transgender Granite Staters like Riley. And because New Hampshire is the only New England state without these protections, Riley thinks it’s past time for our state lawmakers to act.

“I just want to live my life and know that I am protected like everyone else in this state.”

“I just want to live my life and know that I am protected like everyone else in this state,” she says.

Riley spends most of her time being a normal teenage girl, with dreams of going to medical school. Next month, she’s even competing for Miss Berlin-Gorham outstanding teen on November 4th.

But she also knows that her story and her lived experiences have the power to change hearts and minds. Beyond her experience at school, she’s also making the case to her elected officials that these protections must be secured statewide.

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Trans teen to school admins: ‘I looked up to you and now you’re pushing me away’

October 3, 2017 by admin
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