Transgender Advocates Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 30, 2018

Contact: Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire Campaign Manager
(602) 989-3283, [email protected]

Barbara MacLeod
(207) 752-0484, [email protected]

CONCORD, N.H. — Freedom New Hampshire marks Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31st, an internationally recognized day dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. The coalition is also deeply concerned at the recent release of President Trump’s plan to implement this discriminatory ban on transgender Americans in the military.

Linds Jakows, Campaign Manager for Freedom New Hampshire, released the following statement:

“The irony of celebrating Transgender Day of Visibility in New Hampshire is that living our lives openly might actually cost a transgender person like me their job. The good news is that 2018 may be the year that New Hampshire finally becomes the Live Free or Die State for all of us by updating our state’s laws to protect transgender people from discrimination.

“Unfortunately, the Trump Administration remains determined to target transgender people and recently issued policy guidelines aimed at implementing a ban on transgender service members in the military. A ban on transgender troops serving in our military is a signal that New Hampshire lawmakers must pass HB 1319 to protect transgender Granite Staters from harm. Now more than ever, we need our state elected leaders to not only say they are with us, but demonstrate through action that they are with us. This fight goes to the very core of who we are as Americans. While New Hampshire lawmakers may not be able to undo this attack on transgender American heroes, they can and should say clearly that here in New Hampshire, we will not tolerate unfair treatment of our transgender veterans, friends, and neighbors.

“It is heartwarming to see an outpouring of support for transgender freedom from communities across the whole state of New Hampshire. I’m so grateful that the New Hampshire House of Representatives recently voted to pass HB 1319 with strong bipartisan support. HB 1319 is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to truly live free, including transgender Granite Staters. I am deeply grateful to the bipartisan coalition of New Hampshire House members who voted to champion opportunity for all, and I urge the Senate to swiftly send HB 1319 to the Governor’s desk.”

Republican Governor Chris Sununu has weighed in on the issue of transgender freedom several times, including sharing his support for HB 1319 in a conversation with Dave Solomon of the Union Leader. He also came out in opposition to President Trump’s now infamous tweet banning transgender troops from serving in the military, saying, “I think that anyone who is willing to stand up and fight for this country should have the ability to do so.” Governor Sununu established a Civil Rights Unit at the New Hampshire Department of Justice in December 2017, specifically referencing the need to address discrimination against transgender people in New Hampshire.

On March 7th, 2018 the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319, legislation that would update the state’s laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces to explicitly include the state’s transgender residents. The House voted 195-129, sending HB 1319 to the New Hampshire Senate with strong bipartisan support.

Hundreds testified in support of HB 1319, providing over seven hours of testimony during two separate public hearings. Fewer than a dozen people testified against the bill.

 

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Transgender Granite Staters Say Visibility is the Key To Passing #TransBillNH

March 28, 2018 by admin

Transgender people know that sharing their lives and stories with other Granite Staters is the key to building public support for HB 1319. As Granite Staters get to know their transgender neighbors and friends, and the challenges they face due to discrimination, the call to pass HB 1319 grows louder.

That’s why transgender Granite Staters and their families have chosen to share their stories this week, in advance of Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31: 

***

Max Marrone, Meredith

Max Marrone has never spoken out before about being transgender, because he was afraid of being retaliated against at work. But Max has worked with children for several years, including in positions which required ensuring their safety and wellbeing, so he feels he has to start speaking out for their sake.

Transgender youth desperately need HB 1319, Max says. No young person should have to try and establish themselves as an adult while struggling to find a job or place to live because of anti-transgender discrimination.

“It is simply tragic that well adjusted, community minded, working professionals have to struggle with the fear of losing their job or being unable to get another one. We should be allowing people a fair opportunity for professional development, and promoting an overall healthier community.” —Max Marrone, Meredith

Max knows well this discrimination in real. He has rarely come out publicly because of the sometimes violent ways people have reacted when they learn he is transgender. Max has also experienced workplace discrimination in other states—which drove him to keep quiet about his identity when he moved to New Hampshire.

But Max says transgender youth are counting on adults to raise their voices.

“We are setting the next generation up for failure,” he says. “With the current conditions, ‘making it’ as an adult when you’re a transgender adolescent is a blur of pain and struggle.”

***

Julian Long | Dover

Julian is a grant writer and manager for the City of Rochester, and is active in his community and church. Julian loves to write, and when he’s not working his day job he’s reading his writing at the monthly Rochester Writers Night.

He also helps provide child care at his church, the First Church Congregational, UCC, in Rochester. Above all, though, he says he loves spending his free time with his wife and their two “terrible, wonderful cats.”

“Transgender Day of Visibility is an important chance for the amazing people in our communities to be seen as complex, real, valuable people, instead of the harmful stereotypes and mean-spirited jokes that trans people are often depicted as in pop culture.” — Julian Long, Dover

Julian says Transgender Day of Visibility is an opportunity for other Granite Staters to get past preconceived notions they might have about transgender people, and to be “seen as complex, real, valuable people, instead of the harmful stereotypes and mean-spirited jokes that trans people are often depicted as in pop culture.”

***

Rebecca W. | Londonderry

Rebecca has concerns about speaking openly about being transgender because she’s been discriminated against at work, and she’s afraid of it happening again.

Without explicit employment nondiscrimination protections on the books—like what HB 1319 would provide—all transgender Granite Staters live under the threat of being discriminated against at work.

A manager once told Rebecca that if she ever publicly transitions to living as the woman she knows herself to be, her position couldn’t be guaranteed.

“As it stands right now I am scared to come out at work because I am not sure how my employer will react. I came out at a previous job and the HR manager spread the information without my consent. With this law, these actions would be illegal and there would be a remedy if such violations did occur.” —Rebecca W., Londonderry

With HB 1319 in place, New Hampshire’s nondiscrimination law would say clearly that this is unacceptable workplace discrimination.

***

Rachael Booth | Landaff

For 40 years, Rachael struggled with whether to live as the woman she knows she really is. She knew she could face discrimination, and was struggling with depression over not being able to be open about being transgender.

But then a good friend talked her into taking control of her life—into saving her life, by living authentically.

She told her employer she’d be transitioning. And to her surprise, a complete stranger in her workplace said, “I will put my job on the line before I will let this company discriminate against you in any way.”

“There is no room in New Hampshire or America for discrimination of any kind against any person. Being transgender is something people are born with, just like their race, color and sexual orientation. To discriminate against anyone in our country for any reason is contrary to the very idea of what it means to be American.” — Rachael Booth, Landaff

Rachael says that as more Granite Staters, and especially elected officials, learn what being transgender means, they will support HB 1319. “Education is the key,” she says, to changing hearts and minds in New Hampshire and everywhere.

***

Rev. Elsa Worth, St. James Episcopal Church | Keene

One year ago, Rev. Elsa Worth’s daughter Emilia took her own life. Elsa says Em struggled with the knowledge that the world was not a safe place for her as a transgender girl.

That’s why Elsa gave testimony at the Judiciary Committee hearing on HB 1319 earlier this year, and continues to speak out in favor of updating New Hampshire law to protect transgender people from discrimination.

“We are all created in God’s image in our amazing and beautiful diversity, including transgender people,” she told lawmakers. “I honor Emilia’s life by doing what I can to make sure New Hampshire is a place where our vulnerable transgender teens know that we have their backs.”

“Even though there’s a lot of hate and fear in the news these days, I want you to know that there are lots of people who want to support you and do all we can to reflect how beautiful you are right back to you. There are safe people out here for you and I am one of them.” —Rev. Elsa Worth, Keene

For Transgender Day of Visibility, she wants all transgender people to know there are safe places for them.

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Trump Releases Plan to Implement Policy Banning Transgender Troops

March 24, 2018 by admin

The Trump Administration has released a plan to implement its policy banning transgender Americans from serving in the US Military—a policy that’s currently blocked by the courts.  

The administration signaled its implementation plan would be largely identical to that originally announced over Twitter by President Trump last summer.

At this point, four separate courts have ruled against the ban, in all cases saying it was not valid military policy, but outright and indefensible discrimination. This cleared the way for transgender Americans to officially and openly begin enlisting on January 1st of this year.

Several senators, including veterans John McCain (R-AZ) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), have spoken against the proposed ban. In a July 2017, McCain said “There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military, regardless of their gender identity.”

This ban is simply an attempt from the Trump administration to create a climate of divisiveness and discrimination, using the lives and livelihoods of transgender troops.

“There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military, regardless of their gender identity.” —US Sen. John McCain

While the federal government is determined to target transgender people for discrimination. In New Hampshire, we have the opportunity to do the opposite, by passing HB 1319 to explicitly protect transgender people from discrimination.

New Hampshire lawmakers may not be able to undo this attack on transgender American heroes, but they can say clearly: New Hampshire is a welcoming state, where we will not tolerate unfair treatment of our transgender friends and neighbors.

They can do that right now by passing HB 1319 to update our Law Against Discrimination to explicitly protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination. Sign our pledge of support for HB 1319.

 

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This Year’s Transgender Day of Visibility Will Celebrate the Transgender Granite Staters Who Are Working Hard to Pass #TransBillNH

March 21, 2018 by admin

Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), celebrated annually on March 31, is taking on new importance in New Hampshire this year as transgender Granite Staters use it as an opportunity to prepare to pass HB 1319 though the Senate.

Advocates for updating state law to explicitly protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination in housing, employment and public places like restaurants—which HB 1319 would do if enacted—are also celebrating its recent passage through the House of Representatives.

For nearly a decade, TDOV has been an opportunity for transgender people around the world to build community and celebrate achievements. The push to pass HB 1319 fits right in to this purpose, as it’s the dozens of transgender people who shared their stories online, in their communities and with lawmakers who are largely to thank for the bill’s success this year.

For TDOV this year, we have to keep showing our fellow Granite Staters we’re proud of who we are, and that we’ll never back down from claiming the freedom and respect we deserve. That’s why we’re inviting transgender Granite Staters to participate in TDOV with Freedom New Hampshire this year in two ways:

Being visible is more important than ever. Our opposition’s efforts to spread lies about transgender people has gotten more intense. And we’re looking at another tough committee assignment, this time in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

We need to counter these lies with the truth about who we are — to show lawmakers and our fellow Granite Staters that transgender Granite Staters are simply trying to live free, just as they are.

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All our friends and family deserve peace and protection, by Elsa Worth

March 18, 2018 by admin
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A Look at the Individuals, Community Organizations, Businesses and Lawmakers Who Made This Win Possible—And a Look Ahead

March 13, 2018 by admin

Last week’s vote was truly historic. For the first time in nearly a decade, House lawmakers recognized the freedom and dignity of transgender Granite Staters, passing a bill to explicitly protect them from discrimination under New Hampshire’s nondiscrimination law.

Not since 2009 has any bill specifically addressing nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations such as restaurants, retail shops and hospitals passed the House or Representatives. Last year, the House voted 187-179 to table a bill identical to this year’s.

This year, though, a record 48 Republicans, 2 Libertarians and 145 Democrats stood together, showing that respect for everyone’s rights can and should transcend partisan politics.

And none of this would have been possible without businesses, community organizations, law enforcement, faith leaders and thousands of individual Granite Staters—especially transgender people and their families—working together.

The backbone of our coalition is the 12,000 individual Granite Staters who have signed our pledge signalling their support for legislation that updates our Law Against Discrimination to explicitly protect transgender people.

That includes the hundreds of people who testified during two days of Judiciary Committee hearings, as well as the more than 500 Granite Staters who sent a message to their lawmaker this year in support of HB 1319.

These individuals are people from all walks of life and every corner of our state, especially transgender Granite Staters and their families.

They are people of faith and faith leaders—our faith coalition currently numbers more than 140—like Rev. Elsa Worth of St. James Episcopal Church.

“I honor Emilia’s life by doing what I can to make sure New Hampshire is a place where our vulnerable transgender teens know that we have their backs,” Rev. Worth told lawmakers at the Judiciary Committee hearing, “and that they are celebrated and valued for exactly who they are.”  

They are also law enforcement officers like Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso, who represents the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, and Cheshire County Sheriff Eli Rivera.

Representatives from statewide organizations concerned with protecting individuals’ rights and safety, like the New Hampshire Women’s Foundations, New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission, also support HB 1319.

These groups know that every Granite Stater is safe when we’re all protected from discrimination.

The business community has come out big for HB 1319. Our coalition currently includes dozens of local businesses, as well as some of New Hampshire’s most prominent large businesses and business groups. The Business and Industry Association, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Eastern Bank and the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce have supported this legislation two years in a row.

The BIA’s SVP of Public Policy, Dave Juvet, and Eastern Bank’s EVP of Human Resources, Nancy Stager, both spoke in support of HB 1319 during the first Judiciary Committee hearing on January 31st.

HB 1319 is also endorsed by the bipartisan Children’s Caucus and the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative, indicating that those who know best what children need agree on how important non-discrimination protections are for their development.

And so far, three of New Hampshire’s largest daily newspapers have given their editorial board endorsement to HB 1319. That includes the Keene Sentinel, the Concord Monitor and the Portsmouth Herald.

As we look toward a vote in the Senate, which could come as soon as late March, our strength remains unmatched. But we absolutely cannot take anything for granted.

In the coming weeks, we need to make sure our senators hear the same message our representatives heard loud and clear last week: If New Hampshire truly wants to be the Live Free or Die state, we must ensure that transgender Granite Staters can live free from the threat of discrimination.

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New Hampshire House Passes Transgender Nondiscrimination Bill

March 7, 2018 by admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Contact: Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire Campaign Manager
(602) 989-3283, [email protected]

Barbara MacLeod
(207) 752-0484, [email protected]

 

CONCORD, N.H.The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319, legislation that would update the state’s laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces to explicitly include the state’s transgender residents. The House voted 195-129, sending the bill to the New Hampshire Senate with strong bipartisan support.

HB 1319 lead sponsor Rep. Ed Butler emphatically urged his fellow legislators to support the bill saying, “Fairness and equality are not red or blue values, but rather human values.” A bipartisan coalition stated their support for the bill during debate, including Rep. Erin Hennessy, who cited HB 1319’s endorsement of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police and the Business and Industry Association.

Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire Campaign Manager, applauded the vote, marking this historic moment in New Hampshire.

“Today’s bipartisan vote demonstrates that New Hampshire is ready to truly become the Live Free or Die State. New Hampshire’s House of Representatives just voted to move New Hampshire forward by updating our state’s laws to protect transgender people from discrimination,” said Jakows. “HB 1319 is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to truly live free. We are so grateful to the bipartisan coalition of New Hampshire House members who voted to champion opportunity for all, and we urge the Senate to swiftly send HB 1319 to the Governor’s desk.”

“Legislators and the general public have now heard from business leaders, law enforcement officials, women’s safety advocates, faith leaders, and a wide range of parents, children and transgender people like me about the importance of passing HB 1319,’ said Gerri Cannon, Somersworth School Board Member and member of Freedom New Hampshire. “I am a proud transgender woman and I have shared my story of discrimination with legislators in the hopes that our elected leaders will protect people like me from ever having to face discrimination again. Today the New Hampshire House sent the message that discrimination has no place in the Granite State, and I know there are so many transgender folks across the state who will rest easier tonight.”

“Today’s vote is an example of what happens when folks come together – across political and ideological differences – to uphold the values of our communities and guide the policies of our elected government,” Anthony Procik, State Director, Rights & Democracy New Hampshire. “This affirming vote is needed now, more than ever, given today’s political climate.”

 

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MAJOR VICTORY: House Advances Bill Granting Transgender Granite Staters Explicit Protection from Discrimination

March 7, 2018 by admin

In a victory for transgender Granite Staters, the House of Representatives voted 195-129 to advance legislation that would ensure they are explicitly protected from discrimination in housing, employment and public spaces like restaurants, retail shops and hospitals.

The House passed the bill in a marathon session intended to consider as many bills as possible before an anticipated snowstorm.

If the Senate passes the bill and Governor Chris Sununu signs it, New Hampshire would become the 19th state in the country with an explicit, comprehensive statewide law protecting transgender people from discrimination protections.

Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire’s campaign manager, said that today’s bipartisan vote shows New Hampshire truly is the Live Free or Die state. They credited the victory to the transgender Granite Staters and their families who spoke out, and the volunteers who worked long and hard to reach lawmakers and members of the public.

“Granite Staters from all walks of life have gotten the opportunity to meet their transgender neighbors and have come to understand that HB 1319 is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to truly live free. We are so grateful to the bipartisan coalition of New Hampshire House members who voted to champion opportunity for all, and we urge the Senate to swiftly send HB 1319 to the Governor’s desk.” —Linds Jakows, Freedom NH Campaign Manager

A large coalition of groups and individuals inside and outside the legislature, ranging from public safety advocates and faith leaders to businesses large and small, have said the legislation is necessary for New Hampshire to provide a free and fair environment for all.

HB 1319 is endorsed by the bipartisan Children’s Caucus and the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative, indicating that those who know best what children need agree on how important non-discrimination protections are for their development.

Despite repeated resurgence of opposition narratives stoking fears about “bathroom predators,” the opinion of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police—that HB 1319 will make everyone safer, including transgender people, without causing any uptick in public safety concerns—carried the day.  

The NH Business and Industry Association, the House Libertarian Caucus, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission also all support this critical legislation.

And over two days of committee hearings, hundreds of people spoke in favor of the legislation, including many transgender Granite Staters who shared stories of harm and harassment because they lacked the legal ability to protect themselves.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. If the legislation makes its way to Governor Sununu’s desk, the likelihood is high that he would sign it; in late 2017, the governor created a committee specifically tasked with studying and investigating instances of discrimination across the state, including discrimination against transgender people.

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Supporters Optimistic As Transgender Rights Bill Passes N.H. House

March 7, 2018 by admin
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New Hampshire’s Transgender Rights Bill Sets the Best Republican Example

March 7, 2018 by admin
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March 7: Rally in Support of Transgender Nondiscrimination Bill

March 5, 2018 by admin
Contact: Barbara MacLeod
Phone: (207) 752-0484, [email protected]

Transgender citizens and advocates will gather before the House votes on historic legislation

CONCORD, N.H. — Supporters of anti-discrimination legislation in New Hampshire will host a rally on Wednesday, March 7th from 9 am – 9:30 am in front of the State House before the House of Representatives votes on HB 1319.  The bill will provide protections for transgender Granite Staters in employment, access to housing, and public spaces like restaurants, shops, and government buildings. The House Judiciary committee recommended HB 1319 “Ought to Pass” with a bipartisan vote last week, after listening to two days of testimony, much of it from transgender residents who have experienced discrimination. If the House approves the measure, the bill then moves on to the NH Senate. Governor Chris Sununu has indicated that he supports the effort to update the state’s existing nondiscrimination law.
The rally will include a news conference at 9:15 am featuring women’s advocates, business leaders, legislators, and transgender citizens and their families. Media availability following the rally.
WHO: Business leaders, women’s and anti-violence advocates, law enforcement officers, and transgender citizens and their families.
WHAT: Rally and news conference to preview legislative testimony on HB 1319 to protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces.
WHERE: New Hampshire State Capitol, 107 North Main Street, Concord, NH 03301
WHEN: Wednesday, March 7. Rally will take place 9 am – 9:30 am. Short program will take place at 9:15 am. Media availability before or after the event.
HB 1319 has 15 sponsors and 14 cosponsors including 12 Republican legislators. It is endorsed by the bipartisan Children’s Caucus and the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative. In addition, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police endorsed HB 1319 saying it will make all of us safer, including transgender people, without causing any uptick in public safety concerns. The NH Business and Industry Association voted unanimously to support HB 1319, saying it will make the state’s economy more competitive. The bill is also endorsed by the House Libertarian Caucus, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission. All other states in New England have enacted similar legislation.
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Transgender Woman Needs #TransBillNH So She Can Live & Work in the State She Loves

March 5, 2018 by admin

Stephanie Cawley of Center Conway has called New Hampshire home for 31 years, and can’t imagine living anywhere else. She loves New Hampshire’s strong culture of freedom and independence, and says the state’s natural beauty is unparalleled.    

Which is why it upsets her that she has to work in Maine just so she can do her job as a healthcare professional without worrying about being discriminated against. You see, Maine law says you can’t discriminate against someone because they’re transgender, meaning that Stephanie is protected from discrimination at her job, even if she isn’t when she comes home at night.

In New Hampshire she can be fired, denied housing, or refused service in public spaces just because of who she is.

Representatives can take a big step toward changing that this week, by advancing HB 1319—which would update New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination to protect transgender people.

Unfortunately, some representatives are wavering in their support HB 1319 because of misinformation opponents are spreading. Their most disgusting talking point targets transgender women like Stephanie, saying that they’re predators in disguise who will misuse the law to harm people in bathrooms.

That’s just fearmongering—and organizations that are dedicated to public safety, and women and girls’ safety, have said as much. The New Hampshire Chiefs of Police and the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation support HB 1319, saying clearly that updating our non-discrimination law to protect transgender people will ensure that women, girls and all Granite Staters are safer.

Representatives need to hear this truth about HB 1319 ASAP, before they vote on it later this week.

Rush a message to your representatives now that makes it clear: The Granite State must protect transgender people from discrimination by passing HB 1319.

 

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