Many people have never met a transgender person and are still unfamiliar with what it means to be transgender. That’s normal.
At the end of the day, transgender people are our neighbors. Freedom and opportunity means giving everyone a fair chance.
When it comes to who transgender people are and why they need protections from discrimination, we need to separate fact from fiction.
|Myth:Non-discrimination protections could be used as cover for misconduct in restrooms and locker rooms.||FACT:We all care about safety, including transgender people. Harassment is illegal under the law, and the good news is that updating our nondiscrimination protections absolutely keeps that in place. What’s more, the bill explicitly states that nondiscrimination protections may not be used for any improper purpose. Anyone who goes into a restroom to harass others will be arrested, prosecuted, and held accountable. That’s why this nondiscrimination update is supported by leading law enforcement agencies, like the NH Association of Chiefs of Police, and women’s safety groups, like the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.|
|Myth:Legally protecting transgender people means a man could just "wake up one day" and claim to be a woman, then access women's facilities.||FACT:False. Nondiscrimination policies across the country make it clear that gender must be honest and sincere. There are proven ways to assess that and they are written into the policy. Even more importantly, this nondiscrimination update still means that anyone—transgender or not—who engages in inappropriate or illegal behavior will be arrested and held accountable for their actions.|
|Myth:Transgender people will violate modesty norms in locker rooms.||FACT:It can be hard to understand what it means to be transgender, especially if you’ve never met a transgender person. And it’s not uncommon to have questions at first about what that might mean for locker rooms. Transgender people, like all of us, care about privacy and modesty in places like locker rooms, and they do what they can to not draw attention to themselves. They are members of our workplaces and neighborhoods, and they use the gym and the locker room for the same reasons as everyone else—to get their workout in, and to keep healthy as best they can. When they can’t use the locker room that matches the gender they live every day, they’re at risk for harassment and assault. According to the most recent study available, more than 1 in 10 of our transgender neighbors have been harassed in spaces like locker rooms. That’s heartbreaking, and it’s time to change it.|
|Myth:Transgender people are already protected.||FACT:Our current nondiscrimination protections don’t explicitly extend to our transgender neighbors. According to the Human Rights Commission, which is the agency that handles nondiscrimination cases, this absence “has caused confusion and uncertainty among parties and practitioners in cases before the Commission. That confusion simply wastes everyone’s time and resources. Updating the protections would put an end to that confusion.” And it will send a strong message that New Hampshire is not open for discrimination.|
|Myth:Transgender legal protections would require businesses and other public places to spend money to remodel their restrooms to be gender neutral or add restrooms or other sex-segregated facilities.||FACT:Not true. Businesses and public facilities won’t have to spend a penny on remodeling or new construction. Being protected from discrimination simply means customers use the existing facilities that match the gender they live every day.
Many businesses—including the statewide Business and Industry Association—are publicly supporting this update because it will attract investment. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that doesn’t protect everyone from discrimination, leaving the state behind as companies invest elsewhere. We all want New Hampshire to have a competitive economy that attracts the best talent, and updated nondiscrimination protections can help get us there.
|Myth:There aren’t enough transgender people in New Hampshire to warrant explicit non-discrimination protections.||FACT:It can be surprising to learn that there are thousands of transgender people living right here in New Hampshire. Transgender Granite Staters are our neighbors, and many are facing discrimination and harassment. No one should be discriminated against just because of who they are. Everyone deserves the opportunity to work hard and prove themselves. That’s what New Hampshire values are all about.|
|Myth:New Hampshire isn’t ready to pass legal protections for transgender Granite Staters.||FACT:Public support for transgender rights has been growing at record speeds. Twelve cities and towns across the state have already adopted local resolutions calling for our nondiscrimination law to include our transgender neighbors. New Hampshire is a place of opportunity and freedom—where people who work hard and meet their responsibilities have a chance to get ahead. This update ensures that all people, including transgender people, have an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families and build a better life.|
|Myth:Transgender protections are unprecedented and untested.||FACT:It’s reassuring to know that nondiscrimination laws have been around for a long time. Eighteen states and more than 200 towns all across the country have already passed laws protecting their transgender residents, and there’s been no uptick in public safety concerns. This includes every single other state in New England, making New Hampshire the only spot on the New England map where people can still be evicted from their homes or fired from their jobs just for who they are. It’s time to fix that and make the Granite State a place where everyone can truly live free.|