The NH House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on Thursday, February 5 at 2:00 pm on HB 415
. From the Analysis portion of the bill: "This bill defines gender identity and expression and adds it to the list of classes of people protected from discrimination."
If you live in New Hampshire, or know someone who lives in New Hampshire, please contact your state Representative (especially if they are on the Judiciary Committee!) and urge them to support this bill. If you Representative is Rep. Ed Butler, please contact him to thank him for introducing this bill.
This bill is extremely important because currently transgender people in the state of New Hampshire have only case law based around state disability laws to try to defend ourselves in the case of wrongful firing for being transgender. There is no explicit protection for transgender people written into state or federal law. This means that employers in New Hampshire can fire someone simply because we are transgender. Not only is gender identity and expression non-discrimination a transgender concern, it is a concern for all GLBT or really all people. Often times when people are fired for being gay or lesbian, it is on the basis of perceived gender expression, when gay men (or even straight men suspected of being gay) are fired for not being masculine enough and lesbian women (or even straight women suspected of being lesbian) are fired for not being feminine enough. While discrimination against sexual orientation is illegal in New Hampshire, discrimination against gender identity and expression is not explicitly forbidden.
Please support this bill. One of the biggest challenges transgender people face is unemployment due to discrimination. A person should not be denied employment simply because of their gender, whether that gender fits into a perceived binary or a broader gender spectrum.