That’s A Wrap: Final Judiciary Committee Meeting on #TransBillNH was 3 Hours of Emotional Testimony February 13, 2018

The House Judiciary Committee re-convened today to finish hearing testimony on House Bill 1319 (known to advocates as #TransBillNH), a bill to explicitly protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces.

Emotion carried the day. Most testifiers were transgender or people whose transgender friends, family and coworkers had faced discrimination. Testimony was often tearful, and focused on the fear of discrimination that transgender people experience every day.

Shana Aisenberg detailed the discrimination she faced as a music teacher before moving to New Hampshire more than 20 years ago. That previous experience made her nervous to look for a job in the Granite State — since New Hampshire has no explicit workplace nondiscrimination protections for transgender people.

For many transgender Granite Staters, workplace discrimination like this is inescapable. Another testifier, Liam Magan of Keene, spoke about being harassed and mistreated by coworkers so badly that he had to leave a job he loved.

“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.”

Eric Golden of Belmont, whose young daughter is transgender, worried that without HB 1319 on the books, she would not have the same opportunities as his other children.

Laura Morrisson, a Concord native, spoke about her daughter who was moving back to New Hampshire to put down roots and start a family. Laura worried that her daughter and her daughter’s family would face discrimination if HB 1319 doesn’t pass.

“Isn’t this the demographic we are hoping to attract to New Hampshire? Young adults moving back to the state? If so, then we should be opening doors instead of putting up fences to show the world that New Hampshire does not support discrimination in any form.”

Sarah Bennert, one of the final testifiers, said that she is lucky to have an employer who supports her, and would never discriminate against her — but that she has friends she knows aren’t so lucky. And they badly need the workplace protections that HB 1319 would add to New Hampshire’s Law Against Discrimination.

The first full hour of testimony is available on our Facebook page, and additional videos of today’s moving testimony are on Twitter.

The Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on HB 1319 in the coming days and will provide a recommendation of Ought to Pass or Inexpedient to Legislate.