This week the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a bill that would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation based on a person’s transgender status. New Hampshire is the only state in New England without such protection. The bill, which passed the house 195-129, now moves to the Senate.
“Today’s bipartisan vote to pass HB 1319 demonstrates that New Hampshire is ready to truly become the Live Free or Die State. The House of Representatives just voted to move New Hampshire forward by updating our state’s laws to protect transgender people from discrimination,” said Linds Jakows, Freedom New Hampshire Campaign Manager. “Granite Staters from all walks of life have gotten the opportunity to meet their transgender neighbors and have come to understand that HB 1319 is about making sure that everyone has the opportunity to truly live free. We are so grateful to the bipartisan coalition of New Hampshire House members who voted to champion opportunity for all, and we urge the Senate to swiftly send HB 1319 to Governor Sununu’s desk.”
Jakows also responded to the fear-mongering of opponents to the bill. “We know that most people haven’t yet met someone who’s transgender, and it becomes easy to believe those fear-mongering stories that we all hear when you actually haven’t connected a face and a real story to the issue of discrimination,” Jakows said.
The fear-mongering Jakows referenced came from people such as Rep. Jeanine Notter (R) of Merrimack who said, “if a violent man wants to harm a woman, all he has to do is say he identifies as a woman and he can go wherever he pleases; never again will there be a safe space for women.”
Given the fact that places all over the country, including the rest of New England, have laws that protect transgender people from discrimination, this fear-mongering has little credibility. In places with laws that prohibit discrimination against transgender people, men have not been posing as transgender women so that they can enter women’s restrooms and assault people. In actuality, transgender people are the ones who are most at risk of becoming victims of assault in public restrooms.
Transgender people face extremely high rates of discrimination and harassment. This legal protection for transgender Granite Staters would certainly be warranted and is long overdue. We hope that the New Hampshire Senate and Governor will sign this bill into law.