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Jun 3, 2015 7:30 PM

Landrigan: Transgender adults, advocates urge NH lawmakers to support anti-bias law


CONCORD - Bruce Jenner's transition to Caitlin Jenner has gotten a lot of attention.

Meanwhile here in New Hampshire, transgender men and women have their own challenges.

Today they told lawmakers what those are and what policy changes they hope for in the future.

"We need protection from other peoples’ prejudices because that is not fair."

That’s Drew Carson of rochester, a transgender male who says those like him still face discrimination in hiring and housing.

New Hampshire is the only New England state that does not outlaw discrimination based on gender identity.

Christen Bastani of Bridgewater agrees and says it’s a matter of basic fairness

"Because in the state we need to have laws which provide equality and provide for equal rights for all citizens," Bastani said.

Christy Hegarty of Durham said she learned early on her child wanted to be a different sex.

“By the time she was about four years old, we were understanding that her fascination with being a girl was not just a phase," Hegarty said.

A leader with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders says these every-day families face much more obstacles than celebrity transgenders like Caitlin Jenner.

“But despite the visibility of those success models that we are able now to see on the cover of Vanity Fair and sometimes now on Time Magazine, the reality is very difficult and very challenging,’’ Jennifer Levi of GLAD explained.

In 2009, the New Hampshire House passed an anti-bias bill for transgenders by a single vote when then House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, broke the tie.

Opponents dubbed the measure the ``bathroom bill’’ and warned it could invite predators posing as transgenders to go into bathrooms to molest women or children.

Only a month later, the State Senate voted to kill the bill, 24-0.

Bestani said she’s hopeful attitudes have changed and votes will be different when the issue returns to the State House.

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