Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

CT Passes Trans Rights Law

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | June 04, 2011 2:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: anti-discrimination, Connecticut, transgender rights, transsexual

CT.jpgAfter several years of trying, the Connecticut State Senate has passed a trans rights bill, which now heads to the Governor's desk for signature, and he has said he will sign it.

According to Meghan Stabler, this was a largely party line vote, with two Dems voting against it, passing by 20-16. It had passed in the House last month, 77-62.

The bill adds the words "gender identity or expression" to the list of protected characteristics in jobs, housing and public accommodations.

It defines gender identity or expression as a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth, which gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person's core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose. "

The first part of the definition, about gender-related identity, whether or not traditionally associated, etc., is a standard phrase that intends to stop the use of gendered characteristics as a determinant in employment, housing and other areas of public life.

The second part, about a sincerely held belief in core identity, is a little less usual, but is found in a few laws around the country. I believe Boston has some similar phrasing in its law. Ultimately, since everyone has a gender identity and gender expressions, it is designed to protect everyone, trans or not. But it is clearly attempting to draw a line.

It should be noted that the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut previously ruled in 2008 that discrimination based on trans status is sex discrimination, and the State Human Rights Commission had issued a similar ruling around 2000. Thus, the statute codifies already existing Connecticut law.

Fun fact: The Connecticut State Motto is "Qui Transtulit Sustinet."

Here's a great colloquy between Rep Holder-Winfield and Peter Wolfgang from the 'Family' Institute of Connecticut, about the tired "sexual predators in the bathroom argument." Well done, Rep. Holder-Winfield!

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And I helped! :D ....ok, I helped a little. I went to the legislative open house and talked to my senator, my represenative was 'out' and I couldn't talk to her. I did send my rep an email and she responded with sailent questions but in the end voted aginst it. I talked to my senator and sent him an email as well. After the bill passed the house I doubled my efforts and started calling my senator to vote on it, and then to just push it to the floor. I called on my birthday and every day after and on Friday morning I went to his office to talk to him again.
I like to think that I helped.

You did help. That is what participatory representative democracy is all about.

Objectively, the evidence is that you *did* help. Your rep voted against, sure, but their certainty was undermined, they could not have lobbied other reps against it without qualms. And your senator knew that there was grass-roots support here too, shoring up any doubts.
Had you not done what you did, it's at least possible - not likely, but possible - that there would have been an additional vote against in the house. It's possible that you, personally, tipped the balance.
But in any event, you helped, you and many others. Thanks.