When the Somersworth City Council voted last week to amend city hiring policies to protect transgender workers from discrimination, it became the 10th local government in New Hampshire to stand up for these kinds of protections.
Somersworth updated its Pledge Against Discrimination, a personnel policy that ensures the city’s public workforce and contractors can’t be fired or harassed on the job because of their age, marital status, race, color, creed, national origin, sex, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation—and now, gender identity.
Five other New Hampshire cities and towns have tackled discrimination in a similar way. Hanover, Hopkinton, Newmarket, Plymouth and Portsmouth all have employment policies ensuring that municipal staff are treated equally while they’re at work, regardless of their gender identity.
Newmarket and Portsmouth have gone a step further, passing resolutions that affirm their own commitment to transgender equality in the workplace while also urging lawmakers in Concord to pass statewide transgender non-discrimination protections. Dover, Durham and Exeter have also passed resolutions that put the focus on state lawmakers to resolve the patchwork of local protections that transgender workers must navigate to protect themselves from employment discrimination.
And Manchester has passed a transgender-inclusive health care resolution, ensuring that transgender city employees can’t be denied treatment or benefits because of their gender identity.
While local protections in New Hampshire municipalities are specific to public workers—they don’t cover private sector employees or discrimination in housing or public places—they indicate that momentum for more inclusive non-discrimination protections is building in communities across the state.
And as Freedom New Hampshire works with lawmakers, businesses, law enforcement officials and more to advance statewide legislation that would explicitly prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of gender identity—the rising tide of local support will help us make our case for comprehensive protections for transgender Granite Staters.