Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Hampshire PFLAGers: Act on This...

Gerri Cannon, PFLAG New Hampshire's Council President, wants to let everyone know that today, Tuesday March 17th, the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee will be voting on HB415 which adds gender identity non-discrimination to the laws.

Cannon says:

If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to contact your local State Representatives and let them know that you want them to support this bill.

If you don’t know who to contact, click here, where you can get a list of Representatives and their contact information.

HB415 proposes to add “Gender Identity or Expression” to the state’s existing non-discrimination laws. There are no special provisions in this bill for anyone. This bill has been written to give Transgender people the same rights as every other New Hampshire resident. Text of the bill can be found by clicking here.

This bill has been submitted because transgender or gender expressive people in New Hampshire have been discriminated against for many years. They are not covered by existing laws, including sexual orientation protections.

Some people have expressed a concern that this bill will give men legal rights to enter women’s bathrooms to hurt others. This bill does not change existing laws that protect people from harm when using public facilities. Similar bills have been enacted in 13 States and communities since the 1970’s. There have been no documented incidents of people misusing those bills to hurt others and there have been no changes in laws regarding the use of bathrooms.

Some people have also expressed concern that this bill would pose a threat to the religious liberties of business owners in New Hampshire, by forcing them to do business with transgender people. Please be aware that the transgender population is a cross section of humanity and religions. Transgender people are Christians, Muslims, Jews and non-believers, just like the rest of us.

And lastly, but most importantly, thousands of transgender and gender expressive people have been living peacefully in the state of New Hampshire for many, many years. They have lived their lives as law abiding citizens to the best of their ability, even while being discriminated against by people that feel it’s okay to treat transgender people badly.

Please stop the discrimination. Let the House Judiciary Committee members know that they need to support HB415. Send them an e-mail this week. Then, let your local State Representatives know that you oppose discrimination and want transgender people to be protected in the eyes of the law.

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