Undecided Lawmakers Bring Open Mind to Exeter House Party May 30, 2017

When we decided to host a house party tour in cities across New Hampshire we had a vision: Give transgender Granite Staters, their families and communities the platform to talk about their experiences and we can change hearts and minds on the issue of transgender non-discrimination.

Exeter is proof—our plan is working.

Last week, Lisa Bunker and her partner, Dawn Huebner hosted the 5th in the house parties series. In attendance were two legislators—Reps. Michael Vose of Epping and Ken Weyer of Kingston—and eight attendees who came forward to share their stories with them.

Boyd Hegarty, whose daughter Lia is transgender, told lawmakers that he really worries about the kind of life his daughter will have as she gets older. As long as there is no statewide law that explicitly prohibits discrimination against transgender people, Lia could face hurdles as she enters the workforce or attempts to reach other life milestones, like buying a home.

He said he knows lawmakers may have trouble looking at this from the perspective of a transgender person, so instead he asked them to look at it from his perspective as a parent. This seemed to really resonate with lawmakers, especially Rep. Vose.

Jessica MacFadzen shared her story of being a transgender woman on the New Hampshire State Police force. She said that even though she was subjected to cruel jokes and harassment at her job after coming out as transgender, one of the things that gave her strength was the state’s implementation of transgender non-discrimination protections for state employees.

She implored Reps. Vose and Weyer to work on making sure all transgender workers can access these protections—by passing #TransBillNH.

After hearing these stories, Reps. Vose and Weyer seemed to bring a more open mind to the issue of transgender non-discrimination. Because at the end of the day, transgender Granite Staters just want the same freedoms afforded to their non-transgender peers: The ability to work hard, find a home, and contribute to their New Hampshire communities.

The house party tour isn’t over yet. We’ll continue hosting lawmakers at homes statewide to help elevate the experiences of transgender people and build understanding of the need for non-discrimination protections.

If you would like to host your own house party—or attend one already happening in your community—let us know by signing up.