On Thursday, June 14, advocates that had been working for months—and in some cases, years—for transgender rights in the Granite State gathered to celebrate a big victory: the passage of HB 1319, which updates state law to fully protect transgender people from discrimination on the job, in their homes and in public places like restaurants and retail shops.
Revelers gave speeches, sang and added their signatures to a poster-sized copy of the bill, known formally as “An act prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.” The poster will tour the state for parades and celebrations during Pride Month, and after that will hang in the ACLU of New Hampshire offices.
Governor Sununu signed HB 1319 on June 8th, and it will officially take effect 30 days later, on July 8th. This comes nearly a decade after the last serious push for such legislation, in 2009. That bill made it narrowly through the New Hampshire House of Representatives after two tries only to be rejected by the Senate.
Advocates started preparing again in late 2016 for another try. During the 2016-2017 session, the House of Representatives tabled an identical bill, HB 478. The legislation remained active, however, and was reintroduced as HB 1319 for the 2017-2018 session by Rep. Ed Buter, who also sponsored the legislation a decade ago.
Momentum for HB 1319 rose quickly. Building on a positive recommendation from the House HHS Committee in 2017, the House Judiciary Committee said it ‘Ought to Pass’ in February 2018, and the full House agreed in early March, passing HB 1319 195-129. The Senate agreed two months later, sending HB 1319 to Governor Sununu’s desk with a 14-10 vote on May 2, 2018.
Now that he has officially signed the bill, our campaign is officially over. But the movement to realize full transgender freedom in New Hampshire will continue. There are many issues left to tackle, and we want to know which of those you care about most, so we know how best to communicate with the community that’s come together around passing HB 1319.
Take our quick, 5-question survey and let us know what trans-specific issues you think are most pressing in the year ahead.
Some issues that are top-of-mind for our current Freedom New Hampshire team are:
- Ensuring better health care access for transgender people
- Making birth certificate gender markers more easily changeable
- Organizing for more inclusive school board policies
- Better educating the public about transgender issues
- Improving conditions for transgender inmates
Our hardworking coalition member organizations—ACLU-NH, GLAD, FFAA, Rights & Democracy, PFLAG-NH and Transgender NH—will be taking the lead on many of these issues in the future, and depending on your interests you may be hearing from them in the future too.