Transgender Granite Staters and allies came together again yesterday evening, this time in Gilmanton, to share their stories with lawmakers who are on the fence about passing #TransBillNH.
Last night, that was Representative Carol McGuire and Senator John Reagan. Sen. Reagan is a co-sponsor of #TransBillNH and strong supporter of transgender non-discrimination protections. But by the end of the night, Rep. McGuire also seemed more receptive to updating the law to protect transgender Granite Staters from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, after hearing how that would change their lives.
Jen and Kenzo Morris hosted the house party, and Kenzo shared his own story of being discriminated against as a transgender man.
Shortly after Kenzo transitioned, he went to the Concord Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license—an unwelcome chore for most people, but an embarrassing nightmare for Kenzo. When he presented his documentation, the DMV worker laughed and pointed at Kenzo for being transgender. Then, she denied him a new license.
Shortly after Kenzo transitioned, he went to the Concord Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license—but when he presented his documentation, the DMV worker laughed and pointed at Kenzo for being transgender. Then, she denied him a new license.
Linda Rogers, Jessica MacFadzen and Lisa Yesse also shared stories from their perspective as transgender women who have had to make difficult choices at their jobs because of the lack of employment protections for transgender people.
In 2003, Linda moved to New Hampshire to advance her career, but because the new position required a strict security clearance, she had to work under the male identity listed on her birth certificate. It was only after Linda retired that she was able to live authentically in all areas of her life—and that’s a trade-off she doesn’t want other transgender workers to have to make.
In 2003, Linda moved to New Hampshire to advance her career, but because the new position required a strict security clearance, she had to work under the male identity listed on her birth certificate.
Jessica recently finished her 27th year with the New Hampshire State Police. But a few years ago, she didn’t know if she’d make it that long. A co-worker outed her as transgender to fellow employees, and rumors began to spread—she became the butt of cruel office jokes and the target of incessant derogatory comments. She started to dread coming to work and sank into a deep depression.
She was starting to feel totally hopeless until one day, another co-worker expressed concern over her mental health. This gesture of kindness and caring helped to pull her out of her deep depression and give her the will to consider her options. After that, she decided to fully transition.
One thing that really helped Jessica make this choice was the state’s implementation of a transgender non-discrimination policy for public employees. She says the legislature must pass #TransBillNH, though, so that other workers who are not covered by workplace policies don’t face similar discrimination.
Lisa Yesse also decided to come out at work—but her transition was pretty seamless, thanks to an understanding manager who supported her. That’s not the case for many workers, however, And worry crept into her life again when she bought a condo in Goffstown, since there are no housing non-discrimination protections in New Hampshire.
Lisa’s home-buying experience went well too, but for many, it does not. No one should have to worry about this kind of discrimination when they’re at work, buying a house, or trying to access government services. That’s why passing #TransBillNH is so important.
Last night’s meeting shows how sharing personal stories with legislators can make a real difference. If you’d like to tell your story by hosting or attending a house party, sign up here and someone from Freedom New Hampshire will be in touch.
If you can’t attend a house party but would still like to share your story, sign up here and someone from Freedom New Hampshire will be in touch.