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At The N.H. Statehouse, Hours Of Testimony For And Against Gender Identity Protection

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

Over eighty people turned out in Concord Tuesday to testify on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. 

More than once, Representative Don LaBrun had to call for decorum in a room packed with supporters and opposition alike. Members of transgender, medical and religious communities turned out to testify on a bill that would prohibit discrimination based upon “gender identity,” adding the term to the long list of factors such as age, race and disability.

Some, like Dave Juvet of the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, consider the bill crucial to New Hampshire’s economy – and reputation.

"This was brought to us by several members of the BIA who have transgender individuals in their employment base," said Juvet, "These are very valuable citizens, they’re valuable employees, they’re valuable to the companies they work for and they’re valuable to our state."

Some opponents argued that the bill could allow sexual predators to hide behind transgender protections.

If passed, New Hampshire will join twenty states and Washington, D.C. in enacting protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity.

Hannah McCarthy first came to NHPR an intern in 2015, returned as a Fellow the following year and then bounced around as a reporter and producer before landing as co-host of Civics 101. She has reported on everything from the opioid epidemic to State House politics to haunted woods of New Hampshire.

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