Good news coming out of Hawaii. From TransGriot comes word the House and Senate have passed a bill that bans employment discrimination based on gender identity. Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign the bill. The state already bans discrimination in housing and public accommodations based on gender identity and expression. These protections mean a lot for trans and gender non-conforming folks, who face overwhelming discrimination in the public sector.
This news is a bit of a relief after the recent failure of Maryland’s limited, flawed gender identity protections bill. I’ve criticized the tactics behind this legislation, but that in no way means its failure is a good thing – it’s a sad loss. And unfortunately what’s happening in Hawaii doesn’t much help trans folks in Maryland. We desperately need a trans inclusive federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but advocates have already given up on that passing in the current Congress despite it’s introduction. So state-based legislation is especially crucial right now.