We know there is still much work to be done to pass #TransBillNH and ensure non-discrimination protections for our transgender friends and neighbors. However, Thanksgiving is a time of year when we can take a breath and look back on successes so far in 2017.
In February, the House’s Health, Human Services, and Elderly Services Committee recommended that the House “ought to pass” #TransBillNH. The vote was a resounding 15-2, and occurred after nearly 100 supporters packed the initial hearing. Although the bill was eventually tabled in the House, our bipartisan legislative coalition saw approximately 179 lawmakers vote against the tabling, showing broad support across the board for transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation.
This year, many municipalities moved to add transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination policies that would protect city workers. The cities of Somersworth, Lebanon, and Keene all voted to expand existing protections to include transgender employees. Somersworth also elected its first ever transgender legislator to public office when Gerri Cannon won her race in early November for a seat on the city’s school board.
The Gilford School Board voted—with no contest—in early January to pass explicit non-discrimination protections for transgender students. This brings the number of schools with these inclusive protections to 16.
Perhaps most importantly, New Hampshire lawmakers voted on October 19 to lift the prohibition in the state’s Medicaid program regarding gender affirmation surgery. This allows transgender Granite Staters the ability to make their own medical decisions, without their care being dictated by a discriminatory government policy.
We know we’ve still got a fight ahead of us. #TransBillNH will be introduced again for the 2018 legislative session, and we must continue to fight to ensure that it is passed. But for today, let’s reflect on everything we’ve accomplished so far, and use those successes to propel us forward to victory in 2018.