Metro Weekly

N.H. governor signs executive order banning transgender discrimination

LGBT advocates praise Gov. Maggie Hassan's order as a first step, but say further protections are needed

N.H. Gov. Maggie Hassan (Photo: Roger H. Goun, via Wikimedia).
N.H. Gov. Maggie Hassan (Photo: Roger H. Goun, via Wikimedia).

Transgender government employees in New Hampshire will now enjoy legal protections under a newly-issued executive order, prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or expression in state employment and government contracting.

“Throughout our history, it has been clear time and again that we always grow stronger when we work to ensure the full inclusion of all citizens in our democracy, our economy, and our communities,” Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) said in a statement, the Concord Monitor reports.

The state Division of Personnel will oversee the order’s implementation by Sept. 15. New Hampshire law already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Transgender individuals are our neighbors, our friends and our co-workers,” said Christen Bustani, of Transgender New Hampshire, said in a statement released along with the Boston-based GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). “They are an intrinsic piece of the fabric of our state and deserve the same fair protections as everyone else.”

GLAD praised Hassan for signing the order, but noted it falls short of protecting members of New Hampshire’s transgender community who are not state workers or government contractors.

“While this is a tremendous step forward, it also highlights the ongoing need for explicit comprehensive protections for all transgender people across the state, in private as well as public employment, and in housing and public spaces as well,” said GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu.

Hassan’s order came on the same day that the Pentagon lifted its longtime ban on allowing transgender service members to serve openly. It also comes, conveniently, as she is locked in a tight race with incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), the former state attorney general, who has a mixed record on LGBT rights.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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