Transgender people know that sharing their lives and stories with other Granite Staters is the key to building public support for HB 1319. As Granite Staters get to know their transgender neighbors and friends, and the challenges they face due to discrimination, the call to pass HB 1319 grows louder.
That’s why transgender Granite Staters and their families have chosen to share their stories this week, in advance of Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31:
Max Marrone has never spoken out before about being transgender, because he was afraid of being retaliated against at work. But Max has worked with children for several years, including in positions which required ensuring their safety and wellbeing, so he feels he has to start speaking out for their sake.
Transgender youth desperately need HB 1319, Max says. No young person should have to try and establish themselves as an adult while struggling to find a job or place to live because of anti-transgender discrimination.
“It is simply tragic that well adjusted, community minded, working professionals have to struggle with the fear of losing their job or being unable to get another one. We should be allowing people a fair opportunity for professional development, and promoting an overall healthier community.” —Max Marrone, Meredith
Max knows well this discrimination in real. He has rarely come out publicly because of the sometimes violent ways people have reacted when they learn he is transgender. Max has also experienced workplace discrimination in other states—which drove him to keep quiet about his identity when he moved to New Hampshire.
But Max says transgender youth are counting on adults to raise their voices.
“We are setting the next generation up for failure,” he says. “With the current conditions, ‘making it’ as an adult when you’re a transgender adolescent is a blur of pain and struggle.”
Julian is a grant writer and manager for the City of Rochester, and is active in his community and church. Julian loves to write, and when he’s not working his day job he’s reading his writing at the monthly Rochester Writers Night.
He also helps provide child care at his church, the First Church Congregational, UCC, in Rochester. Above all, though, he says he loves spending his free time with his wife and their two “terrible, wonderful cats.”
“Transgender Day of Visibility is an important chance for the amazing people in our communities to be seen as complex, real, valuable people, instead of the harmful stereotypes and mean-spirited jokes that trans people are often depicted as in pop culture.” — Julian Long, Dover
Julian says Transgender Day of Visibility is an opportunity for other Granite Staters to get past preconceived notions they might have about transgender people, and to be “seen as complex, real, valuable people, instead of the harmful stereotypes and mean-spirited jokes that trans people are often depicted as in pop culture.”
Rebecca has concerns about speaking openly about being transgender because she’s been discriminated against at work, and she’s afraid of it happening again.
Without explicit employment nondiscrimination protections on the books—like what HB 1319 would provide—all transgender Granite Staters live under the threat of being discriminated against at work.
A manager once told Rebecca that if she ever publicly transitions to living as the woman she knows herself to be, her position couldn’t be guaranteed.
“As it stands right now I am scared to come out at work because I am not sure how my employer will react. I came out at a previous job and the HR manager spread the information without my consent. With this law, these actions would be illegal and there would be a remedy if such violations did occur.” —Rebecca W., Londonderry
With HB 1319 in place, New Hampshire’s nondiscrimination law would say clearly that this is unacceptable workplace discrimination.
For 40 years, Rachael struggled with whether to live as the woman she knows she really is. She knew she could face discrimination, and was struggling with depression over not being able to be open about being transgender.
But then a good friend talked her into taking control of her life—into saving her life, by living authentically.
She told her employer she’d be transitioning. And to her surprise, a complete stranger in her workplace said, “I will put my job on the line before I will let this company discriminate against you in any way.”
“There is no room in New Hampshire or America for discrimination of any kind against any person. Being transgender is something people are born with, just like their race, color and sexual orientation. To discriminate against anyone in our country for any reason is contrary to the very idea of what it means to be American.” — Rachael Booth, Landaff
Rachael says that as more Granite Staters, and especially elected officials, learn what being transgender means, they will support HB 1319. “Education is the key,” she says, to changing hearts and minds in New Hampshire and everywhere.
One year ago, Rev. Elsa Worth’s daughter Emilia took her own life. Elsa says Em struggled with the knowledge that the world was not a safe place for her as a transgender girl.
That’s why Elsa gave testimony at the Judiciary Committee hearing on HB 1319 earlier this year, and continues to speak out in favor of updating New Hampshire law to protect transgender people from discrimination.
“We are all created in God’s image in our amazing and beautiful diversity, including transgender people,” she told lawmakers. “I honor Emilia’s life by doing what I can to make sure New Hampshire is a place where our vulnerable transgender teens know that we have their backs.”
“Even though there’s a lot of hate and fear in the news these days, I want you to know that there are lots of people who want to support you and do all we can to reflect how beautiful you are right back to you. There are safe people out here for you and I am one of them.” —Rev. Elsa Worth, Keene
For Transgender Day of Visibility, she wants all transgender people to know there are safe places for them.