Connecticut Governor Signs Transgender Nondiscrimination Bill
July 6, 2011 by Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director
Today, Connecticut Governor signed into law HB 6599, a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. In addition to guaranteeing a level playing field in employment, the new law will ensure that housing opportunities are made available to all, students are free from discrimination in schools, and no one has to forego basic needs such as heat or telephone services based solely on who they are. It is well-documented that transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are shown less desirable properties for purchase or rent, are excluded from schools activities, receive less favorable customer service, or encounter outright refusal of service. This law does not prevent employers from firing incompetent employees and do not prevent landlords from turning down unqualified renters. Instead, this law simply makes sure that all employees get a fair chance at working hard to get ahead without discrimination or bias and that no one is singled out for arbitrary discrimination when it comes to areas like housing, education, public accommodations, utilities, and access to credit.
Beginning with an ordinance passed in Minneapolis in 1975, 14 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 135 cities and counties have enacted laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. More than 500 private businesses across the United States, including 42% of Fortune 500 companies and 69% of Fortune 100 companies, have voluntarily adopted policies that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. Connecticut is now the 15th state guaranteeing protections from discrimination based on gender identity. The state added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination laws in 1991. Addressing discrimination on the basis of gender identity is not new for Connecticut. In 2004, Connecticut added gender identity to the categories protected under the hate crimes law.
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