Gov. Gregoire signs WA hate crime law adding Trans rights
Governor Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5952 today to add "Transgendered" to the definition of sexual orientation in the state's hate crimes statute.
"The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community gained much-needed protection today," Sen. Joe McDermott, D-Seattle, the bill's sponsor, said. "For too long, a population of our community has gone unrecognized in key legislation. That stops today."
According to a recent study by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, reported acts of violence against LGBT people rose by 24 percent in 2007. Of the reported incidents, 16 percent were motivated by anti-Transgender bias. Hate crimes against Transgender men alone increased by 65 percent.
"No crime against another person is acceptable. But our laws recognize that some crimes are particularly heinous and deserve harsher punishment," McDermott said. "Crimes against our children or crimes spurred by a person's race, ethnicity or sexual orientation are just some of these crimes."
At least 11 states and the District of Columbia have enacted protections against hate crimes based on a victim's perceived gender identity. McDermott credited Dave Iseminger of the Washington Student Lobby for the bill's success.
"The LGBT community has some strong allies - in both parties - for our civil rights issues, and with all their help full equality is the future in our state," Iseminger said. "It was a great experience working with so many thoughtful and passionate legislators on this bill."