Hawaii close to banning gender identity-based employment discrimination

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.

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  1. Posted April 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Hawaii can set another example of how well such a policy can work (perhaps with some fine tuning) that other states can mimic later on. It’s not to write-off the failure in Maryland, but Hawaii should provide some long-term momentum on the issue.

  2. Posted April 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m pissed off about the Maryland vote. I’m especially ticked off at the trans groups that opposed the bill. Yes, a law that includes public accommodations would be better. But banning employment and housing discrimination would be far better than nothing at all. Not that they’re necessarily to blame. That rests more on senators who, for whatever reason, backed off on their support. The same thing happened in the House of Delegates on the same-sex marriage. I don’t know whether we need better lobbying or vote counting or voting those guys out of office or what, but something needs to be done better.

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