CONCORD, N.H. — The Somersworth City Council unanimously voted to support transgender nondiscrimination protections on Tuesday night. The updated ordinance ensures that transgender individuals in Somersworth can work for the city and focus on their jobs without having to fear being discriminated against.
“This is a victory for equal protections in Somersworth,” Gerri Cannon, a transgender rights advocate and member of Freedom New Hampshire, said after the vote. “I would like to thank the City Council for standing with their transgender constituents and our families in supporting this important measure.”
By ensuring that no one can be fired from their city job based on their gender identity, the updated ordinance ensures that employees are judged solely on their job performance.
“Cities like Somersworth, Hopkinton, and Plymouth and others have taken it upon themselves to update their nondiscrimination protections to ensure everyone, including transgender individuals, can work for the city without fear of discrimination. Nobody should have to live in fear of being legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do their their job performance,” Cannon added. “New Hampshire is the only state in New England that does not afford fully explicit nondiscrimination protections to all residents.”
Currently, 18 states and more than 200 municipalities explicitly protect transgender individuals from discrimination. Cannon hopes New Hampshire will join the ranks this legislative session.
In November, state Rep. Ed Butler, D-Harts Location, announced that he will introduce legislation to update the state’s existing civil rights laws to provide fully inclusive protections for transgender individuals. The bill has already received strong support from across the political spectrum, as well as from law enforcement, civic, faith and business leaders throughout the Granite State.
“Lawmakers have the opportunity to ensure everyone can live their lives to their fullest potentials,” Cannon said. “I, Freedom New Hampshire and our partners look forward to helping lawmakers achieve full equality for transgender Granite Staters and our families in 2017.”