In the first weeks of the legislative session, the list of official endorsements of HB 1319 (known to advocates as #TransBillNH) has expanded to include 10 organizations with major state and regional influence. That’s in addition to the dozens of other community groups and thousands of individual Granite Staters who are on our side.
One major new endorsement is New Hampshire Legal Assistance, which provides civil legal aid to low-income Granite Staters. They are the second organization that specifically focuses on legal protections to endorse #TransBillNH; the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights threw its weight behind #TransBillNH last year.
Both endorsements show that explicit non-discrimination protections for transgender people would provide legal organizations with the clarity they need to properly investigate cases of discrimination and serve clients. In fact, former Commissioners know from experience that there are gaps in the law when it comes to gender identity discrimination — that’s why passing this explicit update is so important.
Katharine Daly, who served as the Commission’s Executive Director from 1999 to 2007, submitted a comment to lawmakers directly rebutting the argument that transgender people are already protected, saying that’s flat-out false. While some transgender people who’ve suffered from discrimination may have alternative claims, as Daly explains, ”[d]iscrimination based on gender identity really is based on its own set of circumstances, fears, myths, misrepresentations, and lack of understanding, and it would be best served by recognition in the law as a separate category.”
Discrimination based on gender identity really is based on its own set of circumstances, fears, myths, misrepresentations, and lack of understanding, and it would be best served by recognition in the law as a separate category.” — Katharine Daly, fmr Executive Director, NH Commission on Human Rights
Another major new endorsement came at the very beginning of January, when the bipartisan Children’s Caucus became the first new endorser of the 2018 legislative session. And over the last week, HB 1319 has also received endorsements from the editorial boards of two of New Hampshire’s most widely distributed daily newspapers, the Portsmouth Herald and the Concord Monitor.
Organizations that are carrying over their endorsements from last year include businesses and economic groups like the Business and Industry Association, Eastern Bank and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, as well as public safety groups like the New Hampshire Chiefs of Police Association and the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation. One of New Hampshire’s largest unions, the SEA/SEIU-1984, has also stepped up by endorsing HB 1319 and hosting outreach events in communities across the Granite State.
This flurry of endorsements couldn’t come at a more critical time. HB 1319 will see its first hearing in the Judiciary Committee next Wednesday, and the momentum demonstrated by these new endorsements is something lawmakers should note.
If you’re a local nonprofit, advocacy, public safety or other community organization, add your name to say: It’s time to ensure fair treatment for transgender people under NH law.