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Some states are starting to follow Maine in protecting transgendered people from employment discrimination

Connecticut has become the most recent state to prohibit employment discrimination against transgendered individuals. On June 4, 2011, the Connecticut Senate passed a bill prohibiting such discrimination and the Governor of Connecticut has promised to sign it into law. In a statement released after the vote, the Governor of Connecticut said, “[t]his bill is another step forward in the fight for equal rights for all of Connecticut’s citizens, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s difficult enough for people who are grappling with the issue of their gender identity, and discrimination against them has no place in our society.”

Maine has prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity since 2005. Earlier this year, Nevada enacted a law that prohibits employment discrimination against transgendered individuals. Massachusetts’ legislature is currently debating a similar bill. Recently, Tennessee went in the opposite direction of Maine. It passed a law which nullified a Nashville ordinance that prohibited discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. Tennessee’s law is now the subject of a court challenge.

There is evidence that discrimination against transgendered individuals is rampant. According to the Human Rights Campaign , “in six studies conducted between 1996 and 2006, 20 to 57 percent of transgender respondents said they experienced employment discrimination, including being fired, denied a promotion or harassed.” Connecticut will be the 15th state to pass a state law that prohibits employment discrimination against transgendered individuals.