Anti-Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Groups Renew Support for Transgender Non-discrimination Protections Ahead of HB 1319 Vote

A coalition of national, state and local anti-sexual assault and domestic violence organizations, including several in New Hampshire, are standing squarely behind efforts to increase non-discrimination protections for transgender people.

This support comes as HB 1319—which would update New Hampshire law to explicitly protect transgender people from discrimination—heads for a Senate vote on Wednesday, May 2nd.

The recently released National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence statement renews its member organizations’ commitment to opposing anti-transgender initiatives and supporting transgender-inclusive non-discrimination protections.

The Task Force also called out those who would use false narratives about women’s safety to undermine support for these protections:

“Nondiscrimination laws do not allow men to go into women’s restrooms—period. The claim that allowing transgender people to use the facilities that match the gender they live every day allows men into women’s bathrooms or women into men’s is based either on a flawed understanding of what it means to be transgender or a misrepresentation of the law. …

Those who perpetuate falsehoods about transgender people and nondiscrimination laws are putting transgender people in harm’s way and making no one safer. We cannot stand by while the needs of survivors, both those who are transgender and those who are not, are obscured in order to push a political agenda that does nothing to serve and protect victims and potential victims.”

So far, the statement has more than 300 signatories, including the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (Concord), Turning Points Network (Claremont), YWCA NH (Manchester) and New Beginnings – Without Violence & Abuse (Laconia).

Groups that advocate for ending sexual and domestic violence are speaking up for these non-discrimination protections because they know transgender people—particularly transgender women—are disproportionately targeted for harassment and violence.

According to the US Transgender Survey, 47 percent of transgender people have experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes, while 54 percent have experienced intimate partner violence.

The Task Force ends their statement by noting that “we will only accomplish our goal of ending sexual violence by treating all people, including those who are transgender, with fairness and respect.”

The New Hampshire Senate has the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to treating all people with respect this week by passing HB 1319, and ensuring that our Law Against Discrimination explicitly protects transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations.

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Momentum Builds as Transgender Non-discrimination Bill Heads for a Full Senate Vote

April 27, 2018 by admin

HB 1319 is nearing its final legislative step, a vote on the Senate floor on Wednesday, May 2nd—one day before the Senate’s final voting day of the 2018 legislative session.

Advocates for updating New Hampshire law to explicitly protect transgender people from discrimination in housing, employment and public places are gathering at the State House outside the Senate chambers for three days of rallies during the final session days, on April 26th, May 2nd and May 3rd. Supporters are hoping this final gathering will be a victory rally.

HB 1319 heads to the Senate with unprecedented bipartisan support, including three Republican Senate co-sponsors: Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and Senators John Reagan and Dan Innis.

It’s also drawn support from the from the legislative Children’s Caucus and House the Libertarian Caucus, which officially endorsed HB 1319 during one of two House Judiciary Committee hearings earlier this year.

But as HB 1319 gathers momentum, opposition to it is also becoming more desperate. Opponents are spreading insidious myths and misinformation in an effort to sabotage its broad support, claiming that protecting transgender people from discrimination in public places will somehow embolden “bathroom predators” or otherwise endanger women.

That’s completely false. As representatives from the NH Association of Chiefs of Police and the NH Women’s Foundation have pointed out repeatedly, 18 states and more than 200 cities and towns in the US have similar protections on the books, and have experienced no increase in public safety incidents.

Absolutely nothing in HB 1319 negatively impacts our ability to hold accountable someone who enters a locker room with the intent to harm or harass.

Ultimately, many of these concerns about restrooms and locker rooms boil down to some people’s discomfort at sharing spaces with transgender people. But discomfort is no reason to discriminate. Transgender people—like all of us—simple want to feel safe in the places where we all feel a bit vulnerable.

On March 7th, 2018 the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319 by an overwhelming 195-129 majority after a recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee. We’re hoping the Senate will follow suit—and that Republican Governor Chris Sununu will follow through on his aforementioned support for HB 1319.

Help ensure HB 1319’s swift passage. Place a quick call to your senator’s office now.

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BREAKING: Senate Committee Recommends HB 1319 for “Interim Study”; Bill Still Heading for Full Senate Vote

April 24, 2018 by admin

Today, HB 1319 advanced to the full Senate, though without an endorsement from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Instead, the Committee recommended HB 1319 by a 3-2 vote for “interim study”—essentially a polite way to kill the bill. An interim study committee takes no clear action on a bill, and its recommendations are not required to be acted on. 

The bill still gets a vote on the Senate floor, and momentum is high. That vote could come either this Thursday, or next Wednesday or Thursday (May 2nd or 3rd) during the final days of the Senate session. 

On Monday, April 16, the Committee met for nearly six hours—four hours over the allotted period—to hear testimony from transgender Granite Staters and their friends, family and community allies. This testimony included dozens of stories of discrimination in the workplace and in public places like restaurants and doctor’s offices.  

The Committee said that ensuring transgender people have the same basic protections as everyone else is something that needs further study—but that’s just not true. HB 1319 has unprecedented support, from the business and faith communities, civil rights and public safety organizations, and individual Granite Staters.

As Sen. Hennessey noted during the committee debate:

“I’m really curious about what’s not ready. This is a fundamental right. I’m a child psychologist, and a school psychologist. I feel very strongly that this is not only a way to protect children, teenagers and adults, but that we need to be in step with what is going on in the nation, and denying that this is a reality or questioning that this is a reality is not helpful.”

HB 1319 heads to the Senate floor with an unprecedented amount of support. It has 15 sponsors, including nine Republican House members and three Republican Senators: Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and Senators John Reagan and Dan Innis.

During the first House Judiciary hearing on January 31, the House Libertarian Caucus officially endorsed HB 1319, joining the Children’s Caucus, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission.

On March 7th, 2018 the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319 with strong bipartisan support, voting 195-129 in favor after a recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee. And Republican Governor Chris Sununu has hinted that he supports the bill, as reported in the Union Leader.

This bill has been percolating in the legislature for two years. Two bipartisan committees and the full House of Representatives have advanced it. We don’t need more time to know discrimination is a problem and this is the right solution.

Make sure your senator knows this: Leave a message with their office now.

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Breaking Down the Myths Around HB 1319 As It Heads for A Senate Vote

April 19, 2018 by admin

On Monday, we again saw the amazing persuasive power of transgender people and their family members, friends and community allies sharing their stories. Committee members listened with empathy for nearly 6 hours to dozens of stories of discrimination. And testifiers didn’t get rattled, even while opponents of HB 1319 trotted out some of the most disgusting anti-transgender myths.

The most damaging being one we hear frequently: that granting transgender Granite Staters full legal protections in public places will embolden “bathroom predators.”

This is a tactic we’re well acquainted with. Public support for transgender freedom is gaining ground, so opponents of HB 1319 are turning to falsehoods to scare lawmakers into weakening or killing the bill. As we enter this critical time, when a final Senate vote is imminent, it’s important to address these myths head on.

First, and most importantly, there is no evidence whatsoever that protecting transgender people from discrimination in public places like restaurants, retail shops, hospitals—and yes, restrooms and locker rooms—hurts public safety. We know this because 18 states, Washington D.C. and more than 200 municipalities across the United States have full non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and public places and have seen no increase in public safety incidents.

Furthermore, HB 1319 explicitly states that gender identity “shall not be asserted for any improper purpose.” There is absolutely nothing in this bill preventing police from holding accountable someone who goes into a restroom to harass others. It should be obvious that the NH Women’s Foundation would not support a bill that harms women, and the NH Association of Chiefs of Police would not support a bill that would make our public spaces unsafe.

Opponents of HB 1319 also like to say that legally protecting transgender people means a man could just “wake up one day,” claim to be a woman, then access women’s facilities. This is false. Nondiscrimination policies across the country make it clear that gender must be honest and sincere.

Opponents of HB 1319 also like to say that legally protecting transgender people means a man could just “wake up one day,” claim to be a woman, then access women’s facilities. This is false. Nondiscrimination policies across the country make it clear that gender must be honest and sincere. There are proven ways to assess this, and they are actually written into the law.

What these concerns really boil down to is some people’s discomfort with transgender people—but discomfort is no reason to discriminate.

Unfortunately, these myths seem to be having an effect on some senators—so we need to flood their offices with the truth before they vote, which could happen any day.

Tell the Judiciary Committee: HB 1319 must include public accommodations protections. That’s not up for debate.

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Episcopal Priest Speaks Out for Transgender Freedom in Memory of Her Daughter

April 19, 2018 by admin

It was just over a year ago that my 17-year old-came out as a transgender girl.

To the world looking in, my child was a typical guy’s guy — 6 foot 2 inches tall with wide shoulders, a deep baritone voice and a quick wit. But she told us that sometime during junior year of high school, she began to feel depressed and anxious as she became increasingly aware that she was not a boy after all — she was truly a girl.

My husband and I raised our child to be a high honors student, a valued crew team member, a star musician and a leader at a prestigious prep school, where she was elected president of her class all four years and was deeply loved and respected by her peers. She wanted her peers to know that even popular kids have struggles, and also wanted them to know that people they knew and respected could be transgender. So she courageously came out publicly last winter, adopting the name Emelia, which would have been the name we’d given her had she been born a girl.

Coming out as a transgender girl seemed to be a profound moment of liberation for Em, and she began to think about planning her transition. Then suddenly, on Jan. 28 of last year, she took her own life.

“It breaks my heart that our society didn’t feel like a safe place to Em, in large part due to the kind of discrimination she feared she would face.” —Rev. Elsa Worth, St. James Episcopal Church, Keene

Forty percent of all transgender teens either commit or attempt suicide. That’s 40 percent of all of our transgender sons, daughters, siblings, friends and family members. My husband and I did not know that statistic until it was too late. There is enormous stigma in our culture around being transgender no matter how much personal support you have, whether before or after a gender transition — especially for a transgender girl like Em. Even if your friends and family love and accept you, many in society do not, and there is little recourse should you encounter discrimination or hostility in housing, employment or in public spaces.

Right now, under New Hampshire law, there are no measures that explicitly protect transgender people from discrimination. Despite growing public awareness and support for the LGBTQ community, transgender people still face horrific discrimination, harassment and violence in all areas of life.

It breaks my heart that our society didn’t feel like a safe place to Em, in large part due to the kind of discrimination she feared she would face.

I was able to recently testify in support of House Bill 1319, New Hampshire’s transgender nondiscrimination bill, in front of the House Judiciary Committee to honor Em’s memory. I was both shocked and pained to hear opponents talk about transgender people as if they are broken, damaged and a danger to children. I heard people claim that God does not want to see transgender people protected from discrimination. Some opponents even had the audacity to question my faith, and the faith of the other clergy present who were there in support of HB 1319.

I serve as the priest at St. James Episcopal Church in Keene and have been an ordained clergy person for 22 years. I regret that so many hurtful and stigmatizing claims about LGBTQ people have been asserted in the name of religion — and I reject such claims.

“It is because of these promises that I and so many people of faith advocate for legal equality for transgender people. It is because we know that all are created in God’s image — in all our amazing and beautiful diversity — and that includes those who are transgender.”

In our church, we preach that no matter what our faith or creed, we should treat others the way we would want to be treated. Failing to protect others from discrimination goes against this value and it hurts us all. In our Episcopal baptismal covenant, we promise to seek and serve God in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves. We promise to strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.

It is because of these promises that I and so many people of faith advocate for legal equality for transgender people. It is because we know that all are created in God’s image — in all our amazing and beautiful diversity — and that includes those who are transgender.

My daughter was loved by her family and by God, and we wish we had more time with her to show her that love. So I believe it is now part of my calling to make sure every transgender person knows how truly beloved they are.

“Putting nondiscriminatory measures in place are a basic and important step in offering vulnerable teens like Emelia the hope, confidence and inner peace to keep going despite the significant pressure of bias and stigma they will face.”

I have heard a great deal of fear expressed by the opponents of transgender equality. But love casts out fear, and this bill is grounded in compassion, fairness, equality and love. It assures our transgender citizens that New Hampshire intends to stand by them if they come up against life-damaging discrimination and provides them with more options than turning to desperate measures.

Putting nondiscriminatory measures in place are a basic and important step in offering vulnerable teens like Emelia the hope, confidence and inner peace to keep going despite the significant pressure of bias and stigma they will face. I’m extremely grateful the House of Representatives voted resoundingly to support HB 1319, and I urge the Senate to do the same.

I pray that all those like my daughter Emelia feel our support and the peace of knowing they are valued and upheld as equal and protected members of our communities.

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With Today’s Committee Hearing Over, Attention Turns Now to the Full Senate

April 16, 2018 by admin

For more than 5 hours today, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from transgender people, their families, and allied groups across the state—but did not issue a final decision on whether or not it would recommend the bill for passage.

No matter what the Committee decides, HB 1319 still heads to the full Senate for a vote.

The Senate Judiciary committee hearing was standing room only as business leaders, healthcare experts, faith leaders, women’s safety advocates, and transgender people and their families shared their stories in support of HB 1319, ultimately running more than 3 hours over its allotted 2-hour timespan.

Committee members probed deeply for stories of discrimination—and had the opportunity to hear plenty from testifers:

The committee also focused heavily on safety issues, which is understandable. Safety and privacy are important for all of us. But as legal and public safety experts noted, 18 states and more than 200 localities have passed comprehensive non-discrimination laws that include protections for public spaces—with no uptick in public safety issues.

Granite Staters’ testimony before the committee today was a stark reminder of why we desperately need this law: Discrimination is happening every single day, and currently transgender people have no clear legal recourse in New Hampshire.

As the bill heads to the full Senate, we’re confident our senators will see that updating New Hampshire’s non-discrimination law to explicitly protect transgender people from being treated unfairly at work, in housing and in public places like restaurants and hospitals is simply the right thing to do.

The Senate Judiciary committee could vote on HB 1319 as soon as tomorrow, April 17th during executive session. The full Senate must vote on HB 1319 before May 3rd.

While we’re awaiting a full Senate vote, call your senator and urge them to recommend HB1319 “Ought to Pass.”

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New Hampshire Lawmakers Listen to Testimony on Transgender Rights

April 16, 2018 by admin
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Standing Room Only as Advocates Share Support for Transgender Freedom

April 16, 2018 by admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 16, 2018

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

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

Law enforcement officers, faith leaders, and families provided over five hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee

CONCORD, N.H. —Supporters of HB 1319 filled the New Hampshire State House for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a measure to update the current nondiscrimination law to include transgender individuals. The Senate Judiciary committee hearing lasted over five hours and was standing room only as business leaders, healthcare experts, faith leaders, women’s safety advocates, and transgender people and their families shared their stories in support of HB 1319.

HB 1319 is a bipartisan bill to update New Hampshire state laws to explicitly protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces. The Senate Judiciary committee could vote on HB 1319 as soon as Tuesday, April 17th during executive session. The full Senate must vote on HB 1319 before May 3rd.

On March 7th, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319 with strong bipartisan support. The House voted 195-129 in favor of the bill after an Ought to Pass recommendation from the House Judiciary committee, including 48 Republicans voting in favor.

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

“New Hampshire has a significant workforce shortage. The diverse membership of the Business and Industry Association brought this issue to our board and asked us to endorse HB 1319 because they believe our legislature should do all it can to position the state as being welcome to all,” said David Juvet, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association. “BIA is constantly seeking new ways to make New Hampshire more competitive and make it the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family. In our view, transgender freedom is an issue of economic competitiveness, and we strongly urge the Senate to HB 1319.”

“One year ago, our transgender daughter Emilia took her own life,” said Rev. Elsa Worth of St. James Episcopal Church. “We are all created in God’s image in our amazing and beautiful diversity, including transgender people. 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, and that they are celebrated and valued for exactly who they are.”

“As the father of a transgender son and as Sandwich Police Chief, I support HB 1319,” said Sandwich Police Chief Doug Wyman. “I want my son to be able to have the same opportunities as everyone else. I want him to be looked upon for who he is as a person, not his gender identity. Most importantly, I want my son to feel safe. It is reassuring to learn that in the 18 states and over 200 municipalities where similar laws are in place, there have been NO upticks in public safety incidents. No one is made less safe when transgender people are protected from discrimination. All parents want their kids to be safe, happy, and successful, and HB 1319 will ensure that my son can live his life free from the fear of discrimination.”

“As a transgender man, the discrimination I experienced at my previous job was so harmful to my mental health. I had feelings of depression and was anxious to go to work everyday, and I had to leave my former job in order to feel safe,” said Liam Magan, a transgender advocate from Keene. “Even though my new job respects my gender identity, I am still at risk of being harassed at work – or even fired – because of who I am. I support HB 1319 because it provides protection for transgender people who are discriminated on the job like I was. Everyone deserves the right to be protected from discrimination in the workplace, and to be able to live as who they are freely and without fear.”

“At the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation we take women’s safety and privacy very seriously. Transgender women are women, and like all women, we want them to be safe, to have equal opportunity, and to be treated fairly. That’s what HB 1319 offers,” said Sarah Mattson Dustin, Director of Policy for the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation. “Nothing in HB 1319 would change the fact that it is already illegal to assault a woman in a public restroom or locker room. Prohibiting discrimination does not weaken laws against assault, nor compromise their enforcement. HB 1319 will make all of us safer, including transgender Granite Staters.”

“We’ve updated our state’s laws over the decades to ensure people don’t face discrimination simply because of their gender, age, race, or sexual orientation. Now, our lawmakers need to take action to do the same for our transgender neighbors,” said Linds Jakows, Campaign Manager of Freedom New Hampshire. “HB 1319 isn’t about new rights or special protections – it is about making sure that our state’s existing Law Against Discrimination is as efficient and effective as possible in protecting all Granite Staters from discrimination.”

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LOCATION CHANGE | April 16: Senate Judiciary Hearing on Transgender Nondiscrimination Bill

April 16, 2018 by admin

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES:
Monday, April 16, 2018

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

CONCORD, N.H. — Supporters of anti-discrimination legislation in New Hampshire will host a rally on Monday, April 16 at 12:30pm inside the Legislative Office Building just before the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on HB 1319. HB 1319 will provide protections for transgender Granite Staters in employment, access to housing, and public spaces like restaurants, shops, and government buildings. The rally will include a news conference at 12:30pm featuring advocates, business leaders, legislators, and transgender citizens and their families before they provide testimony to the Judiciary Committee. All spokespersons will be available for media following the rally. Details below:

WHO: Law enforcement officers, business leaders, women’s and anti-violence advocates, faith leaders, and transgender citizens and their families to provide testimony in support of HB 1319.

WHAT: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on HB 1319 to protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces.

WHERE: New Hampshire Legislative Office Building, 33 N State St, Concord, NH 03301

WHEN: Monday, April 16 at 12:30 PM. Media availability to follow.

The Senate Judiciary committee is comprised of five Senators. The hearing is expected to last approximately two hours and the committee could vote on HB 1319 immediately after the hearing or during executive session in the days following. The full Senate must vote on HB 1319 before May 3rd.

On March 7th, 2018 the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319 with strong bipartisan support. The House voted 195-129 in favor of the bill after an Ought to Pass recommendation from the House Judiciary committee.

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.

Republican Governor Chris Sununu is expected to sign the bill, having shared 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.

HB 1319 has 15 sponsors including 9 Republican House members and three Republican Senators. Senate Majority Leader Senator Jeb Bradley, Senator John Reagan, and Senator Dan Innis publicly support HB 1319 as cosponsors. During the first House Judiciary hearing on January 31st, the House Libertarian Caucus announced its official endorsement of HB 1319, joining the Children’s Legislative Caucus, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, The Women’s Foundation, and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission.

 

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April 16: Senate Judiciary Hearing on Transgender Nondiscrimination Bill

April 12, 2018 by admin

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES:
April 12, 2018

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

CONCORD, N.H. — Supporters of anti-discrimination legislation in New Hampshire will host a rally on Monday, April 16 at 12:30pm in front of the State House just before the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on HB 1319. HB 1319 will provide protections for transgender Granite Staters in employment, access to housing, and public spaces like restaurants, shops, and government buildings. The rally will include a news conference at 12:30pm featuring advocates, business leaders, legislators, and transgender citizens and their families before they provide testimony to the Judiciary Committee. All spokespersons will be available for media following the rally. Details below:

WHO: Law enforcement officers, business leaders, women’s and anti-violence advocates, faith leaders, and transgender citizens and their families to provide testimony in support of HB 1319.

WHAT: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on HB 1319 to protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces.

WHERE: New Hampshire State House Room 100, 107 N Main St, Concord, NH 03301

WHEN: Monday, April 16 at 12:30 PM. Media availability to follow.

The Senate Judiciary committee is comprised of five Senators. The hearing is expected to last approximately two hours and the committee could vote on HB 1319 immediately after the hearing or during executive session in the days following. The full Senate must vote on HB 1319 before May 3rd.

On March 7th, 2018 the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319 with strong bipartisan support. The House voted 195-129 in favor of the bill after an Ought to Pass recommendation from the House Judiciary committee.

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.

Republican Governor Chris Sununu is expected to sign the bill, having shared his support for HB 1319 in a conversation with Dave Solomon of the Union Leader. 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.

HB 1319 has 15 sponsors including 9 Republican House members and three Republican Senators. Senate Majority Leader Senator Jeb Bradley, Senator John Reagan, and Senator Dan Innis publicly support HB 1319 as cosponsors. During the first House Judiciary hearing on January 31st, the House Libertarian Caucus announced its official endorsement of HB 1319, joining the Children’s Legislative Caucus, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, The Women’s Foundation, and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission.

 

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The Final Push to Pass #TransBillNH Begins: HB 1319 Senate Hearing Scheduled for Monday, April 16

April 12, 2018 by admin

Part two of our legislative push for transgender freedom is about to get underway. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear HB 1319  on Monday, April 16 at 1:30 pm in State House Room 100.

Our ground plan for that day is the same: We’ll show our strength before the hearing with a rally outside the State House at 12:30, and then file into Room 100 a little before 1:30.

Our hearing strategy hasn’t changed either: Transgender Granite Staters and their friends, family and other allies speaking from the heart about why we must update New Hampshire’s nondiscrimination law.

Let’s bring the same energy and optimism we brought to the House hearing: Sign up to attend the pre-hearing rally on Monday, April 16 at 12:30pm, and testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 1:30.

Remember: No matter what the committee decides that day, we are heading for a vote in the Senate! Committees don’t have the power to prevent legislation from advancing in the New Hampshire legislature—because while a five-person committee provides an important forum for discussion, it shouldn’t be the deciding voice on such important legislation.  

And we’re heading for that Senate vote with amazing momentum. Already, the New Hampshire House of Representatives—the body that’s closest to public sentiment—voted 195-129 to pass HB 1319. Two committees—the House Judiciary and HHS—have said HB 1319 Ought to Pass, and it’s been endorsed by the Children’s Caucus, House Libertarian Caucus, NH Business and Industry Association, NH Association of Chiefs of Police, and 12 Republican co-sponsors.

We are so close to passing this critical legislation that would update New Hampshire’s existing law to protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing and public spaces. Get ready for the final stretch!

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Stories of Discrimination Underscore the Need for HB 1319’s Swift Passage

April 11, 2018 by admin

With the Senate Judiciary Committee poised to hear HB 1319 any day now, it’s important to keep the focus on the bottom line: Right now, transgender Granite Staters have no explicit legal recourse if they’re discriminated against at work, while trying to find a place to live, or in a public place like a restaurant, retail shop or hospital.

This discrimination isn’t theoretical. It’s happening to transgender people across the Granite State every day. In fact, 1 in 3 transgender people experience discrimination, according to national surveys. These are their stories:

Mitchel Pyles | Milford

Mitchel Pyles has lived in New Hampshire for more than 25 years and is proud to call the Granite State home—even though they’re not afforded the same non-discrimination protections as fellow residents.

That was made painfully clear when Mitchel went to the doctor for a routine sinus infection. The doctor turned Mitchel away because she didn’t feel comfortable treating a transgender person. Mitchel has also been discriminated against by state agencies, at one point being denied a court filing and turned away from the DMV while attempting to change drivers license information.

“I, like everyone else, want to know that I can receive medical treatment when I need it. … We all want to be treated with dignity and respect just as every other member of my community.”

“I, like everyone else, want to know that I can receive medical treatment when I need it. … We all want to be treated with dignity and respect just as every other member of my community,” Mitchel said in a video posted for last year’s Transgender Day of Visibility.

Mitchel is hoping 2018 will be the year lawmakers show they agree, by passing HB 1319.

Gerri Cannon | Somersworth

Gerri was let go during a company-wide downsizing, but given her stellar performance record she suspects she was terminated because she is transgender.

“I was in a customer-facing position. That’s what got me in trouble,” she said. “As I was transitioning, they didn’t want me in front of customers anymore.”

Gerri had worked there since the 1970s, but only had trouble after a business trip, when a colleague saw her out in public dressed in female clothes and complained to the company.

She got written up for being inappropriately dressed for business—even though there was no company dress code policy. Then she was put on probation for a year, though management indicated she could resume full-time work once she transitioned fully.

“The frustration was that there was no way to fight it. In my situation, I couldn’t rely on the law. … There was nothing I could call on.”

But when she did that, and notified the company, they fired her. Gerri couldn’t fight the termination because she needed the severance package to stay afloat financially—and there was no clear discrimination case, since New Hampshire law does not explicitly protect transgender people from employment discrimination.

“The frustration was that there was no way to fight it. In my situation, I couldn’t rely on the law. … There was nothing I could call on.” But if HB 1319 passes this year, there will be.

Kenzo Morris | Gilmanton

Shortly after Kenzo transitioned, he went to the Concord Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license. He left humiliated, and without an updated ID.

The DMV worker raised her voice, laughed and pointed at Kenzo for being transgender. She denied him a driver’s license that accurately reflected his gender because he did not have all the surgeries required by the New Hampshire DMV.

“I was extremely ashamed and humiliated,” Kenzo said, but he didn’t give up. He took his fight directly to the DMV, and he won. The New Hampshire DMV changed their policies and now allow transgender people to obtain a new license reflecting their gender identity with no surgical requirement whatsoever.

“No one should have to go through this type of discrimination. We just want to live our lives peacefully like everyone else.”

But not everyone has the resources to fight back when they’re discriminated against. Transgender people, like all other Granite Staters, should be able to walk into a public place with the expectation they’ll be treated fairly and respectfully.

With HB 1319 on the books, they will.

Liam Magan | Keene

When Liam started his transition to living as a transgender man, he received support from his assistant manager at the Five Guys burger joint where he worked. Unfortunately, that support would not extend to higher up the management chain.

“I was harassed almost daily,” Liam explained. “Many of my coworkers respected my identity—by calling me by my name, Liam, and addressing me as he, him and his—but senior management did not.”

He asked management not to be scheduled with coworkers who harassed him about being transgender, but instead they began to only schedule him with those coworkers. It felt like he was being intentionally targeted, he said.

“I was harassed almost daily. Many of my coworkers respected my identity—by calling me by my name, Liam, and addressing me as he, him and his—but senior management did not.”

Things came to a breaking point when the district manager threatened to out him in retaliation for minor slip-ups at work. Liam found another job—but he shouldn’t have had to do that. No one should be harassed at work because they are transgender. Passing HB 1319 will say clearly that the law agrees.

***

Not every transgender Granite Stater has a story of discrimination. But as long as New Hampshire’s non-discrimination law does not explicitly protect transgender people, all live daily under the threat of discrimination—and their stories reflect the toll that takes on their ability to simply live their lives.

Passing HB 1319 will ensure that transgender Granite Staters can finally live free from that threat. If you agree these protections are long overdue, sign the pledge of support for HB 1319 and join our campaign to update the law.

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