Yesterday I showed up on the State House steps in Concord to lobby in favor of HB 478, which would have added “gender identity” as a protected class in NH law, alongside such things as sex and race. I saw some old friends and made some new friends, and we held signs and greeted the arriving Representatives politely and thanked them for voting in favor of our equal protection.
Today, seconds after the bill came up, Speaker Shawn Jasper called for a vote to table the bill, which meant no discussion on its merits, and no vote on whether it should become law. The House voted 187-179 to table it. All but two of the 187 were Republicans. All but eighteen of the 179 were Democrats. A later vote to take it off the table (and therefore debate its merits and vote on the bill) failed.
I went to my evening activity knowing only about the first vote. I knew the likely outcome, but I managed to distract myself with physical activity among friends. I only thought about it twice. But afterward, when I was the last car in the lot, as the engine warmed up I couldn’t resist calling up the result on my phone.
And so I drove home knowing for sure that under NH law, I’m still a second-class citizen.
I’m not all right, tonight, but I will be. I’ve weathered worse, including in 2009. And I’m in the lucky minority of trans people who has never considered self-harm.
But I worry about the other trans people in this state, and especially about the trans kids. As I posted previously, civil rights decisions have an effect on how many children kill themselves.
This decision by our state government will be a blow to vulnerable people, which surely includes many trans people and gender non-conforming (GNC) people in this state, and which surely includes trans and GNC kids.
If you know someone who is trans, please look out for them. If you know a child who is trans, or just GNC, if you know an apparent boy who is feminine, or an apparent girl who is masculine: please keep an eye on them. Tell them that a wise man, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
Tell them that we will keep fighting for their equality under the law.
We’ll be back next year, and each year until we’re no longer legally second-class citizens.