Transgender Employment Protections Advance in Hawaii
April 13, 2011 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
Yesterday, the Hawaii State Senate passed employment protections based on gender identity and expression by a 22-2 vote. The bill contained amendments and will now go back to the House for concurrence before heading to Governor Abercrombie’s desk for his signature.
“The march towards full equality in the Aloha State continues,” said Alan Spector, Equality Hawaii Co-Chair. “Providing employment protections to transgender citizens in Hawaii is a victory for civil rights and equal treatment under the law for all residents of our great state.”
“Following the passage of civil unions for Hawaii’s gay and lesbian residents, the enactment of employment protections for the state’s transgender people is another step forward in our fight towards equality in the Aloha State,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “No one should be denied employment possibilities because of who they are, regardless of their gender identity or expression.”
The Human Rights Campaign and Equality Hawaii have worked closely together to build public and legislative support for this legislation. Through this joint effort, thousands of phone calls, emails and handwritten letters have been sent to legislators urging them to approve this legislation. Both organizations submitted testimony and launched multiple statewide action alerts to mobilize members to contact their legislators.
Hawaii law already included these protections in housing and public accommodations. Employment protections based on sexual orientation were passed in 1991.