Thursday, June 20, 2013

Number 17!

With the Delaware Senate on a 11-9 vote passing the House amended Gender Non Discrimination Act Wednesday afternoon and it getting Gov Jack Markell's signature that evening, Delaware became the 17th state to pass trans human rights legislation

The Gender Nondiscrimination Act adds gender identity to the existing list of protected nondiscrimination categories, including race, age, religion and sexual orientation. It also allows for enhanced penalties under Delaware's hate crimes law for targeting someone based on his or her gender identity.  

The amendment the House added to the passed Senate bill raised concerns with the national trans community breathlessly following SB 97's progress through the Delaware legislature.
It was supported by the bills' proponents in the First State and clarified how a trans person could establish his or her gender identity.  It also stated that the GENDA law would not protect a person attempting to use gender identity as an excuse to enter an opposite-sex changing area for an “improper purpose.”

The cool thing for me about the whole process besides my Delaware trans brothers and sisters getting their too long delayed human rights coverage was not only how fast it happened, but the law was lead sponsored by African-American senator Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington)   

The bill was introduced on May 31 by Senator Henry, who is the Delaware Senate Majority Whip and as of 6 PM EDT yesterday with Gov Markell's signature affixed to it is now the law of the First State.  It's also a law that Attorney General Beau Biden (D) stated he would rigorously enforce. 

The other cool thing for me is that Sen. Henry has a Texas connection in that she graduated from Texas Southern University here in Houston.  .

But for my Delaware-born girls like us homegirl Sarah McBride, the cool thing for her was that her home state passed a trans rights law.

“I’ve never been prouder to be a Delawarean,'she said in an interview.  "There will be none of the doomsday scenarios that the opponents of this legislation said, and all Delawareans will see that in the coming months and years ahead. The only difference will be that transgender people will be safe and secure in this state.”

And Sarah, you should be proud of your home state   It is now one of 17 states in this country that protect the human rights of trans people.  That's something to be bursting at the seams proud of and I look forward to the day it happens in my home state of Texas.  

With the demographic changes happening in Texas blue state transpeople, that day may be coming sooner than you think. 

But congratulations Delaware!   Lets hope, pray and continue to work toward the inevitable day that trans human rights coverage becomes a reality in all our states. 

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