New Hampshire One (More) Step Backwards on Trans Rights

As the New Hampshire Senate passed a bill this week to legalize same-sex marriage, we find trans people’s rights were completely fucked on the same day.
While the House rejected a bill in late March that would protect transgender people’s rights under the state’s anti-discrimination and hate crime law, the Senate is apparently in the same boat:

The New Hampshire Senate today unanimously rejected a bill that would have extended anti-discrimination laws to transgendered people.
House Bill 415 would have protected those with sexual identity issues in areas of housing and employment, much the way the state’s laws protects others from discrimination on the basis of color, race, religion or sexual orientation.

I find it interesting that Democrats apparently “blasted opponents of the bill for dubbing the measure the ‘bathroom bill,’ a move they said created misunderstanding and fear among the general population” but the Senate (with a Democratic majority) unanimously rejected the bill with a 24-0 vote. Am I missing something, or is there a huge WTF here?
Read more at Questioning Transphobia and Pam’s House Blend, and then contact the Senate and tell them how appalled you are at this bullshit.

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    Posted May 1, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    That’s standard operating procedure for Dems, isn’t it? Talk the good fight and do the opposite. It reminds me of the SCOTUS hearings.
    The “bathroom” approach is a very popular fear tactic to attempt to split supporters of trans rights. I wonder what an equally simple and compelling counter argument would look like…

  2. Punchbuggy Green
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t understand how this had ZERO votes. What The Fuck.

  3. Punchbuggy Green
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    First of all, I think bathroom panic is BULLSHIT.
    But second, how can concerns about freakin bathrooms** compel a person to vote against a measure which protects people against discrimination in housing and employment. Let’s see, which is more important, the ability for people to house and support themselves, or some woman’s ability to have a public bathroom exactly how she wants it. Again, What The Fuck.
    **Not to say that I don’t think issues concerning bathrooms aren’t important for trans people, but cisgender people thinking their bathroom issues are more important than housing and employment is just ridiculous.

  4. Punchbuggy Green
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    “I wonder what an equally simple and compelling counter argument would look like…”
    Maybe an argument bringing up statistics about violence against trans people, especially in public bathrooms. Maybe if faced with the stats, people would see that the real fear of violence that trans people face in bathrooms is far above the imagined fear of violence that cisgender women have at the thought of transgender people being in “their” bathrooms.

  5. MollyG
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    This is so frustrating. where were the LBGT organizations who were working on the marriage issue when this went down?
    As a queer cis woman, I want to be able to get married someday, BUT trans and genderqueer friends’ basic rights to not be discriminated against in housing and employment trumps LGB marriage rights. Marriage is important, but housing and employment- how can the LGB community fall silent when trans people are being fucked over like this?
    If this is what it takes to win marriage equality, then fuck it. I don’t want marriage equality at the expense of trans people’s basic rights.
    And, for gods sake- why can’t we all just pee in peace and put this bathroom panic to rest once and for all?

  6. MollyG
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    I wrote this post too quickly, and accidentally clicked publish when I wanted to edit it:
    it should say “BUT my trans and genderqueer friends”- meaning, fuck no, I don’t want marriage rights at the expense of seeing some of my friends, people who I love dearly, not having basic housing and employment rights. no way.
    and, the bathroom issue is in no way a small thing. A good friend of mine just doesn’t use public restrooms if she can avoid it, and I can’t begin to imagine how uncomfortable that must be. my plea is to cis women to shut the f* up about the bathroom issue. seriously, this isn’t about the safety of cis women in bathrooms. this is about basic trans rights.

  7. Naught
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    That, and really, if you’re so terrified of men being in the same room as you while you pee, would you really rather share a room with someone who looks like a man?
    From what I understand, the “GLBT” is more like “GLBt,” and the prevailing attitude is “tough luck, maybe next time, we got ours.”

  8. Naught
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, that should probably be “presents” rather than “looks.”

  9. MzBitca
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    From what i understand a senate committe voted unanimously 5-0 that the senate should unanimously kill the bill which led to everyone voting no. Probably sacrificing the proverbial lamb to get other bills past. Cause ya know, Transgender people can just wait for their basic rights

  10. BackOfBusEleven
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Why aren’t transgender people covered under “gender” in these anti-discrimination laws? If you can’t discriminate in employment and housing based on gender, then you shouldn’t be able to discriminate against transgender people. The law should still apply to transgender people, even without it explicitly saying “gender identity” (although that would be great).

  11. MollyG
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    “gender” is far too often interpreted in terms of cisgendered people, i.e. used to protect cis women’s rights not to be discriminated against, and it just hasn’t historically been interpreted to encompass trans and genderqueer folks, so it is needed to flesh it out to specifically include trans rights.

  12. Posted May 2, 2009 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    One Possibility
    Let us not forget that not too long ago, there was another thread on this issue, that devolved in the comments into how insecure some of us felt with “bathroom laws”.
    Sometimes it’s not transphobia that’s the problem. It’s just that some don’t care about any issues that don’t directly concern them, and care very much about ones that do. Even if they’re only urban legends, myths and scare campaigns from groups with zero credibility in other contexts, like FOTF.
    The problem is often indifference.
    Indifference to the plight of girls in Afghanistan having acid thrown in their faces if they dare to go to school. Indifference to female genital mutilation if it doesn’t happen in our region of the world. How many Feminist organisations are making those issues a priority?
    So why should they care about a minority of women here who they don’t belong to?
    Maybe the 24-0 vote will cause some of them to wake up to the sheer scope of the difficulties trans women face. To those with cisgendered privilege, the common reaction has been “WTF???”.
    To those without, IT’S JUST ANOTHER DAY, more of the same kind of thing we have every single second of every single minute of every single hour of every single day.
    Maybe, just maybe, we might be believed now. I wish I could say I’m holding my breath.

  13. Discontented_Clownfish
    Posted May 2, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, what the hell?
    If this was really killed b/c as a kind of “sacrifice” to get other bills passed – how are people’s RIGHTS a negotiable entity to be sacrificed? I understand there’s a give-and-take in politics necessary for anything to actually be accomplished but there are some things that are not negotiable and cannot be compromised. Like, you know, basic civil rights.

  14. j7sue2
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny how the people that you might expect to be allies of trans people – people who have known oppression themselves – like feminist ciswomen (as above) gay men ( numerous examples) lesbians (Julie Bindel) seem more interested in using us as a group that they can oppress in turn..
    I guess it’s human nature – lets show the man how much we’re on his side, here, and maybe he’ll let us be real people too.

  15. Minarchist Mouse
    Posted May 3, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t we just add everybody to the hate crimes legislation? Criminy, if someone kills or beats the hell out of someone else, it can be safely assumed that it wasn’t done due to love or indifference.
    If I’m laying in the ICU with three bullet holes in my abdomen, the knowledge that the shooter did it for the money in my wallet rather than because of my minority religious views will comfort me NOT ONE EFFIN’ BIT! Nor should she get less punishment for for being an armed robber instead of a religious bigot.
    Sorry, killing and assaulting others is wrong no matter the motive, no matter the victim. Killing somebody for cheating on you is just as bad as killing them because they are black.
    But, like I said in the first paragraph, let’s add everybody to the list of special victims and every reason to the list of motives deserving extra punishment. Then we can all pat ourselves on the back about our enlightened sensitivity towards everyone.

  16. Posted May 3, 2009 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    And your views (worthy though they may be) have what to do with TG rights to employment and accommodations, exactly?
    Please take your views elsewhere to another thread, where they are appropriate. This is not just about you. Your cisgendered privilege doesn’t count here, you can’t just arrogantly over-ride trans women’s issues at whim.
    I know this is a shock to you, since it’s something “everybody does”, but it’s no longer acceptable.

  17. MollyG
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    dude, check it out.
    You’ve clearly mastered the lesson on “But that happens to me too!”
    also, I agree with Zoe Brain that this thread is not the appropriate venue for such a discussion, but I don’t want this ignorant shit to go unchallenged.
    wtf on your comments. Your privilege is clearly clouding the fact that some groups are, FOR REAL, the targets of hate-related violence, an oppressive form of violence aiming to silence marginalized groups.
    Yeah, violence in general sucks. But certain marginalized groups (like the LGBT/Q community) are statistically MORE at risk of violence than members of dominant groups. And when hate fuels a crime, it is never just an individual incident. The perpetrator is sending a violent, hateful message to the group targeted. And I damn well hope the law sends an equally powerful message back that such hate-related violence will not be tolerated.

  18. dream
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure, but I know some state Senates function really differently than Houses. They seem to have alot more unanimous votes. It might be because of some weird procedural rules that it fell this way.
    While I’m philosophically not a fan of anti-discrimination laws, leaving one particular group out is even worse. I find the decision sort of depressing.
    On the other hand, gay marriage seems to be taking a foothold (I think a recent poll had more people in favor of it than against it for the first time). So hopefully this is just a short setback for the transgender community that will not last too long. I think we are, perhaps very slowly, moving in the right direction. One step back, two steps forward, hopefully!

  19. MollyG
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    “not a fan of anti-discrimination laws”?!?- because it should be legal to discriminate in housing and employment based on gender presentation, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, and disability??? I don’t think I follow your philosophical logic on that.
    and no, we are not headed in the the right direction if we throw part of our community under the bus for the gain of some of the group. easy to say two steps forward, one step back if you’re not the one being fucked over.
    please try to recognize and check your privilege when commenting on these issues.

  20. Minarchist Mouse
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I would like to extend my embarrased apologies for my previous. In my (lame) defense, the dangers of multitasking when tired are displayed for all to see.
    Again, my fault and sincere apologies. Nobody moral supports discrimination over something as inconsequential as transexuality.
    On the plus side, N.H. has approved gay marriage.

  21. Vanessa
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    “Inconsequential”? Was the use of that word a mistake? Because if it wasn’t, this comment will be deleted.

  22. j7sue2
    Posted May 5, 2009 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    I’ve been thinking about this bathroom thing, and the scene in Borat where he takes a dump in a flowerbed outside the hotel – because I suppose that’s what they want.
    Ok. They don’t want transsexual women in the ladies – so presumably the idea is that trans women go in the gents? and by analogy then, trans men go in the ladies (because of course they were born women, so it’s ok?) But they really are going to look like men, because they are.
    Ok, so lets suppose a newly transitioned post SRS trans woman – presenting male…What’s to stop her going in the ladies and saying she’s a trans man? how would they know?
    It’s just absurd

  23. smiley
    Posted May 8, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Without claiming any insight into Minarhist Mouse’s thought processes, I would guess that he meant ‘irrelevant’.
    And if that is what he meant then he is right: transexuality is not relevant when being disriminated against.

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