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Four hours of testimony on transgender rights bill

Feb 22, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

On Tuesday, February 21 a House committee received four hours of public testimony on a bill that would prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals.

The bill, HB 478, specifically prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation based on gender identity.  Gender identity is defined as, “a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth.” 

New Hampshire is currently the only state in New England without a law against discrimination based on gender identity.

Most speakers supported the bill.  The organizations testifying in favor of the bill included the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire.

Bill supporters generally argued that the bill was a matter of human rights.  Many transgender citizens testified about losing a job due to their gender identity.

Several bill opponents expressed concern that the law would make it easier for predatory men to disguise themselves as women and enter women’s bathrooms.

Shannon McGinley of Cornerstone testified that gender identity was too subjective compared to the other classes of people protected in New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination law.

Citizens Count NH asked about HB 478 on Facebook January 15.  At the public hearing February 21 we presented the comments we received as citizen testimony.  Click here to read our summary report

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