The Impact of Expanded Non-Discrimination Protections? Protecting Our Transgender Friends and Neighbors from Real Harm December 27, 2016

We’re counting down the days until the beginning of the 2017 legislative session, where lawmakers will, for the first time in 8 years, consider expanding our state’s non-discrimination protections to cover transgender Granite Staters.

real-impact-twitter-1

The change to New Hampshire’s current Law Against Discrimination would be simple—adding “gender identity” to the list of groups protected from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations, such as restaurants, and doctors offices, and government buildings.

But the consequences would be profound for transgender Granite Staters.

For people like Kenzo Morris, protections would ensure fair and equal treatment in public places—like the DMV. When Kenzo visited the DMV shortly after transitioning to update his license to reflect his identity, he provided required documentation to the DMV clerk showing that he underwent surgery—but it wasn’t enough. The DMV worker raised her voice, laughed and pointed at Kenzo for being transgender—and then denied him a new license.

morris-family-3-horiz“I was extremely ashamed and humiliated. No one should have to go through this type of discrimination. We just want to live our lives peacefully like everyone else.”

 

 

For transgender workers like Kaden Michael, protections are about a fair and equal chance to make a living for himself and his family.

Since transitioning, Kaden has found his economic opportunities hamstrung. He’s been harassed at multiple jobs to the point of being forced out of work—all because he’s transgender.

kaden pumpkin-horiz“It’s really hard knowing that any moment, I could be pulled into an office and told I don’t have a job anymore, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. When we don’t have protection in employment, and we’re able to be fired and removed from positions because of how we identify, it’s not only damaging to us and our families, it’s really damaging to the entire community.”

And for young people like Sarah Huckman and Lia Hegarty, protections means a fair shot at a normal life.

Sarah is in high school and competes for her school’s track and cross country teams. But she had to appeal the state body that governs high school sports for the right to participate fully and equally alongside her peers. Until New Hampshire passes statewide transgender protections, this type of red tape could follow her into her adult life and hinder her ability to get a job or buy a house.

hegarty2Lia is in middle school, and has so far been warmly accepted by her peers and school. But her mom, Christy, worries that—because New Hampshire lacks non-discrimination protections—Lia might face workplace discrimination or be denied housing just because of who she is. Christy wants the same opportunities for all of her daughters and that’s why she urgently supports adding “gender identity” to New Hampshire state non-discrimination laws.

***

These are the faces and the stories of transgender Granite Staters whose everyday lives would be transformed if the legislature passes expanded non-discrimination protections next year. You can read more of their stories in our story center, here.