Grassroots momentum to fully protect transgender people from discrimination is building, including at the local level.
Members of the Somersworth City Council met last week to discuss expanding the City Pledge Against Discrimination to include protections on the basis of gender identity, and the proposal was favorably received.
Before council members can hold a final vote on the proposed resolution, however, they must convene a public forum for discussion of the issue.
That forum has been scheduled for January 3rd at 6:30pm and will be immediately followed by a final City Council vote. To attend the public forum and show support for transgender non-discrimination, click here to RSVP.
Right now there are no non-discrimination protections for transgender people under New Hampshire state law, meaning they can be fired, evicted or denied service in public places like restaurants and hospitals—just because of who they are.
The proposed update in Somersworth wouldn’t change that fact, but it would protect the city’s employees from discrimination at work. That’s an important step forward, since local rules and ordinances like this one and those in eight cities and towns across the state help fill the gap left by the lack of statewide protections, ensuring that there are some places in New Hampshire where transgender people can live and work safely.
But this patchwork of laws can be confusing, and it falls far short of what should be afforded to every Granite Stater, no matter where they live—the ability to live their lives without the constant threat of discrimination.
Somersworth’s proposed ordinance is an important step in the right direction, and it sends a message that New Hampshire is more ready than ever to ensure full equality for transgender Granite Staters.