Matt Foreman

New Jersey makes transgender inclusion unequivocal

Filed By Matt Foreman | January 07, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: gender identity, Governor Corzine, New Jersey, nondiscrimination, transgender

By a 65-10 vote, the New Jersey Assembly today approved legislation making the state’s anti-bullying and hate crimes laws two of the strongest in the country by making transgender-inclusion unequivocal and significantly bolstering the two laws’ enforcement mechanisms. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund partnered with Garden State Equality and the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey to provide drafting and strategy support for the measure. The legislation passed the state Senate last Thursday by a 35-0 vote. Gov. Jon Corzine’s administration testified in support of the legislation and the governor is expected to sign it into law.

On the heels of a year that closed with Congress stripping transgender people out of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and pulling LGBT hate crimes protections from the Department of Defense authorization bill, this is an important and much-needed victory. New Jersey has long been a national leader on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, but today rises to the top with two of the strongest hate crimes and safe schools laws in the country and unequivocal protections for transgender people.

New Jersey has long been a national leader on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, but today rises to the top with two of the strongest hate crimes and safe schools laws in the country and unequivocal protections for transgender people.

New Jersey will become the 12th state with a transgender-inclusive hate crimes law when this measure is signed into law. The measure also improves existing hate crimes provisions by mandating two hours of training on hate crimes for all new police officers and offering non-sentence penalty options to judges, such as anti-hate sensitivity training for convicted defendants.

Additionally, although New Jersey already is among five other states and the District of Columbia that have transgender-inclusive safe schools laws, today’s legislation makes New Jersey’s safe-schools law among the strongest in the nation. It expands existing law to require schools to post and distribute their anti-bullying policies and by creating a Commission on Bullying in Schools to investigate bullying and make recommendations to the governor and legislature for future legislation.

In 2006, New Jersey included express protections based on gender identity/expression in its nondiscrimination laws.

We applaud Garden State Equality, the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Anti-Defamation League, the New Jersey Educational Association and state lawmakers who forged ahead to launch 2008 with such a positive and fair-minded act. We look forward to Gov. Corzine’s signature on this important legislation.


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The answer is to get laws enacted on the state level
when there are over half the states with trans-inclusive civil rights laws, then there will be enough pressure on the feds to pass something trans inclusive.

Take care
Sue

This is a good example of why, for all the jokes, for all of the very real problems we have here, I'm damn proud to be able to say I'm from New Jersey.

To Garden State Equality, to GRAANJ, to our entire amazing team of activists who worked so hard on this, and to our legislature, who stood up and did the right thing here and showed the rest of the country, including the US Congress, what we're really about and what we stand for here in Jersey, I say thank you. You all rock.

Caillean McMahon | January 7, 2008 7:12 PM

Kudos to the NGLTF for their effective work. I firmly believe that it is eaier to get an inclusive bill the first time than it is to "come back later for the Transies."

Congrats to all those involved.

What lessons are there to be learnt that can be applied elsewhere? We may learn more from our screw-ups than our victories, but there's always lessons when things go right, as well as wrong.

Can we give more support to those who have a track record of success sometimes, rather than Potemkin Village success and outright failure? Can they give us advice?