Sunday, 3 May 2009


From the Nashua Telegraph :
A bill to ban discrimination against transgender people died in the State Senate today.

The Senate voted, 24-0, to kill legislation to have New Hampshire join 13 other states that ban discrimination for transgender people in housing, accommodation and employment.
Barrington Democratic State Sen. Jackie Cilley attacked the state Republican Party leadership and the media for referring to the legislation (HB 415) as the "bathroom bill."

"To those among you who repeatedly used the label the bathroom bill…and failed to tell the whole story and failed to tell the whole truth, I say you are not journalists, you are merely stenographers for your ignorance, hatred and discrimination," Cilley declared.
But she voted against it anyway.

On the same day, the Senate voted 13-11 in favour of Gay Marriage. The Democrats have a 14-10 majority in the Senate.

My comment:
This was never about bathrooms. The bill would merely have given trans people the same rights as gays. Or for that matter, blacks, or Jews.

It's a dead issue now, but please at least go read it. You'll see what I say is true. Such legislation is already in force for 1/3 of all Americans, on 13 states and about 100 cities and counties.

So trans people will continue to have a 40% unemployment rate in NH. They will continue to have only 1 in 4 in fulltime work, with an average income of $15,000 for those lucky enough to have a job at all.

They will continue to be slain at a rate 17 times that of the average American.

They will continue to die at accident scenes because paramedics won't take them to the ER.

They will continue to freeze to death on Church steps, because no homeless shelter will take them.

As we have documentary evidence has happened.

This was never a matter of Right vs Left - the fact that not a single Democrat voted for it, and not a single Republican spoke against it proves that.

At the Senate committee hearing, the Democrat majority asked that the eyewitness testimony be cut short, and given in written form. This was done, hundreds of pages detailing many acts of individual discrimination in the areas of employment, and accommodation, and credit, and violence, and they didn't even bother to *pretend* to look at it before announcing their decision.

If that doesn't prove the need for such legislation, what would?

And meanwhile the "Gay Lobby", the ones who were supposed to be behind this bill, have won their great victory over gay marriage. Just as they won EXACTLY THE SAME RIGHTS for gays (only) many years ago in NH.

And the Left, who were supposed to be promoting this bill, well, every single Democrat senator voted against it.

This wasn't a matter of Right vs Left, as those who opposed this legislation would have had you believe. It was a matter of Right vs Wrong.

This issue won't go away. It's a genuine problem, not mere propaganda. We have no choice but to try again, and again, and again, while many of us fall by the wayside, and the deathtoll mounts.

I guess you could say we have to "Live Free or Die". Right now, we're dying, and will continue to do so until this law is passed. And every day, more transsexual children are born, who will suffer in their turn because of NH's ignorance, bigotry, and above all, the cowardice of the legislators.


Nica said...

Well, let's not forget, Zoe, it's New Hampshire. Unless things have very much changed since I lived there many years ago now--and I doubt they have--the dominant culture is closer to Mayberry than it is to Montreal, if you know what I mean. Aside from sprinklings of wealthy cosmopolitans who have escaped the urban jungle and state taxes, that is. Very small town. Very 50's white male dominated. And fancy private schools mostly for kids of the wealthy.

Zoe Brain said...

But they voted for gay marriage, Nica.

And gays have had the same protections we were requesting for years now.

Carolyn Ann said...

I believe they are reconsidering the bill on Tuesday or Wednesday. Maybe it will make some progress, then? I don't think it will pass. Perhaps, hopefully, next time.

Basically, it is up to the NH transgender community (and their supporters) to argue why they should get equal protection. Not an ideal situation - it should be assumed that equal protection is available. Alas, that is not the real world.

Equal rights do take a long time to achieve. King's long curve of justice could be a little sharper...

Carolyn Ann

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Lurker said...

Zoe, this is off-topic, but I just thought I'd let you know that Bolt has a post today on the teenager "Alex" and that your name/blog has been brought up by a commenter there (not in a bad way, don't worry).

Because I'm a frequent lurker at your blog, just thought I'd let you know.

Mayhaps you could lend your unique and reasoned perspective to the conversation there, mayhaps you'd rather just leave it be. In any case, as your blog is a daily stop on my favorites list, thought I'd let you know while I was here.

Take care.

Zoe Brain said...

Thanks, lurker.

I've written a few comments on Andrew Bolt's columns in the past, and put in a few of my own on this one.

I've yet to see any of them published though. But I live in hope.

Nica said...

Good for New Hampshire, then, and it's acceptance of Gay people and Gay marriage.

Which puts into stark relief the unfortunate disparity between support for Gay rights as opposed to Transgender rights.

Thank god I am post and pass well enough to avoid discrimination in day-to-day life. Pity the poor souls who are unable to reach this point for whatever reason. I've got mine. That's all that matters.

But this is another topic for another day.


Emelye Waldherr said...

I'm of a mind to support the governor's veto of the marriage equality bill in New Hampshire. I fear that once the GLB community gets what they want, trans people will be left out in the cold until the federal government passes ENDA or some equivalent of that.

I fear the same thing will happen in NY.

Sarahmarie said...

In a sense, Emelye's fear has partially come true. During last year's ENDA debate, at least one leading GLB organization openly lobbied to have "gender identity" removed from the original version of the bill. They feared that its inclusion would kill the entire bill.

When ENDA comes up this year, I have no doubt that they will be back with the same argument.