Gender identity a hot topic in 2018

Nov 13, 2017

BY: Citizens Count

Last year the New Hampshire Legislature rejected anti-discrimination protections based on gender identity, but the debate isn't over. Next year legislators are sponsoring many bills related to sex reassignment surgery, access to public bathrooms, and other issues related to transgender citizens.

To learn about the current laws around gender identity in New Hampshire, visit our new Gay and Transgender Rights issue page.

The 2018 bill texts are still being drafted, but here is a summary of the bills published so far:

Anti-discrimination protections

HB 1319

Sponsor: Edward Butler

This bill prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. The House voted to table an almost identical bill last year, so this bill faces an uphill battle.

HB 1528

Sponsor: Renny Cushing

This bill expands the categories that the university and community college systems cannot use to discriminate or give preferential treatment, to include "age, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, marital status, familial status, or actual or perceived status as a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault."

Limiting sex reassignment

HB 1341

Sponsor: Dave Testerman

This bill adds sex reassignment hormone treatments and surgery to the definition of child abuse, except in rare cases. This bill will likely receive push-back from parents of transgender children.

HB 1532

Sponsor: Daniel Itse

This bill prohibits sex reassignment surgery for anyone under age eighteen. The bill does not address hormone treatments.

HB 1560

Sponsor: Daniel Itse

This bill prohibits Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment hormone treatments and surgery.

Use of public bathrooms

HB 1382

Sponsor: Dan Hynes

This bill repeals the requirement for restaurants to have separate bathrooms for each sex. While this does not relate directly to rights for transgender citizens, it would impact the issue of citizens using whichever bathroom matches their gender identity. If bathrooms are not separated by sex, there is no dilemma over which bathroom transgender citizens should use.

HB 1306

Sponsor: Jess Edwards

This bill increases the penalty for sexual assault if it takes place in a bathroom, locker room, or other public area "in which the user has an expectation of privacy." This is relevant to the debate over transgender rights because some policymakers argue that biological males will claim they identify as females in order to enter bathrooms and locker rooms and prey on women.

Do you have an opinion on any of these bills? Do you think transgender citizens need more rights, or should the state limit coverage for transgender citizens? Share your opinion in the comments below.


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