Standing Room Only as Advocates Share Support for Transgender Freedom April 16, 2018

April 16, 2018

Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire Campaign Manager
(602) 989-3283, [email protected]

Barbara MacLeod
(207) 752-0484, [email protected]

Law enforcement officers, faith leaders, and families provided over five hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee

CONCORD, N.H. —Supporters of HB 1319 filled the New Hampshire State House for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a measure to update the current nondiscrimination law to include transgender individuals. The Senate Judiciary committee hearing lasted over five hours and was standing room only as business leaders, healthcare experts, faith leaders, women’s safety advocates, and transgender people and their families shared their stories in support of HB 1319.

HB 1319 is a bipartisan bill to update New Hampshire state laws to explicitly protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces. The Senate Judiciary committee could vote on HB 1319 as soon as Tuesday, April 17th during executive session. The full Senate must vote on HB 1319 before May 3rd.

On March 7th, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 1319 with strong bipartisan support. The House voted 195-129 in favor of the bill after an Ought to Pass recommendation from the House Judiciary committee, including 48 Republicans voting in favor.

Hundreds have now testified in support of HB 1319, providing over twelve hours of testimony during three separate public hearings. Fewer than two dozen people testified against the bill.

“New Hampshire has a significant workforce shortage. The diverse membership of the Business and Industry Association brought this issue to our board and asked us to endorse HB 1319 because they believe our legislature should do all it can to position the state as being welcome to all,” said David Juvet, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association. “BIA is constantly seeking new ways to make New Hampshire more competitive and make it the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family. In our view, transgender freedom is an issue of economic competitiveness, and we strongly urge the Senate to HB 1319.”

“One year ago, our transgender daughter Emilia took her own life,” said Rev. Elsa Worth of St. James Episcopal Church. “We are all created in God’s image in our amazing and beautiful diversity, including transgender people. I honor Emilia’s life by doing what I can to make sure New Hampshire is a place where our vulnerable transgender teens know that we have their backs, and that they are celebrated and valued for exactly who they are.”

“As the father of a transgender son and as Sandwich Police Chief, I support HB 1319,” said Sandwich Police Chief Doug Wyman. “I want my son to be able to have the same opportunities as everyone else. I want him to be looked upon for who he is as a person, not his gender identity. Most importantly, I want my son to feel safe. It is reassuring to learn that in the 18 states and over 200 municipalities where similar laws are in place, there have been NO upticks in public safety incidents. No one is made less safe when transgender people are protected from discrimination. All parents want their kids to be safe, happy, and successful, and HB 1319 will ensure that my son can live his life free from the fear of discrimination.”

“As a transgender man, the discrimination I experienced at my previous job was so harmful to my mental health. I had feelings of depression and was anxious to go to work everyday, and I had to leave my former job in order to feel safe,” said Liam Magan, a transgender advocate from Keene. “Even though my new job respects my gender identity, I am still at risk of being harassed at work – or even fired – because of who I am. I support HB 1319 because it provides protection for transgender people who are discriminated on the job like I was. Everyone deserves the right to be protected from discrimination in the workplace, and to be able to live as who they are freely and without fear.”

“At the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation we take women’s safety and privacy very seriously. Transgender women are women, and like all women, we want them to be safe, to have equal opportunity, and to be treated fairly. That’s what HB 1319 offers,” said Sarah Mattson Dustin, Director of Policy for the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation. “Nothing in HB 1319 would change the fact that it is already illegal to assault a woman in a public restroom or locker room. Prohibiting discrimination does not weaken laws against assault, nor compromise their enforcement. HB 1319 will make all of us safer, including transgender Granite Staters.”

“We’ve updated our state’s laws over the decades to ensure people don’t face discrimination simply because of their gender, age, race, or sexual orientation. Now, our lawmakers need to take action to do the same for our transgender neighbors,” said Linds Jakows, Campaign Manager of Freedom New Hampshire. “HB 1319 isn’t about new rights or special protections – it is about making sure that our state’s existing Law Against Discrimination is as efficient and effective as possible in protecting all Granite Staters from discrimination.”