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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 8, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 27
CT governor signs Transgender protection bill
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CT governor signs Transgender protection bill

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy signed legislation on July 5 barring discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

The new law covers employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and all other areas under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

HB-6599, titled 'An Act Concerning Discrimination,' passed the Connecticut House of Representatives after a five-hour debate on May 19, and passed the Connecticut Senate on June 4.

Every single Republican in both legislative chambers voted against the bill. Even Republicans who had voted for a similar bill two years ago switched sides to vote No. Two Senate Democrats also voted No.

The bill is the first civil rights legislation to pass in Connecticut in several decades without Republican votes. Passage of a Gay rights bill 20 years ago, and same-sex civil unions and marriage bills more recently, all had support from some GOP legislators.

With the governor's signature, Connecticut becomes the 15th state with clear statewide legal protections for Transgender residents.

During the debate on the bill, Sen. Edward Meyer recalled his boyhood friend and fellow tennis player Richard Raskind, who became the celebrated Trans woman tennis player Renee Richards.

Meyer said the change was 'totally genuine.'

'She is a woman,' he added.

'To send Renee Richards into a men's bathroom, that would be very dangerous, because Renee is a woman,' Meyer said. 'To send Renee to male sleeping arrangements would be very dangerous, very inappropriate, because Renee Richards is a woman.'

LGBT rights organizations lobbied hard to pass the bill and celebrated the signing.

'GLAD was proud to be part of the coalition that worked to pass Connecticut's transgender non-discrimination bill, and we are thrilled that Governor Malloy signed the bill into law on Tuesday,' said Jennifer Levi, director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders' Transgender Rights Project.

'Congratulations to the state of Connecticut for recognizing the dignity and worth of its Transgender residents and acting to ensure that they will have fair and equal opportunities to earn a living, find a safe and comfortable place to live, and enjoy public spaces without fear of being discriminated against simply because of who they are.'

NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey noted her organization's exhaustive study documenting discrimination, harassment, and violence against Trans people, 'Injustice at Every Turn.'

'Connecticut responded appropriately to this crisis,' Carey said. 'We thank Gov. Dan Malloy and lawmakers for ensuring that the people of Connecticut, regardless of gender identity or expression, are protected from such discrimination. Congratulations to the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition and CtEquality, and all those who have advocated for these critical protections.'

Gunner Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), added, 'I hope that our own Massachusetts legislature will soon follow in passing our state's Transgender Equal Rights Bill.'

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