Nevada’s Hate Crimes Protections Now Include Transgender Community

by Charles Joughin

Gov. Sandoval signs bill adding gender identity and expression to hate crime law

WASHINGTON – Today Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed into law SB139, legislation adding gender identity and expression to the state's hate crimes law. Under the new law, transgender Nevadans will have the same protections against hate crimes as all other vulnerable communities.  Under the leadership of Senators Pat Spearman and David Parks, the bill passed the state Senate with all but one senator voting in favor and 30 to 11 in the state Assembly.

“Transgender Americans are the victims of hate crimes at astonishing rates, yet the transgender community is often left out of hate crimes laws,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse,  “We thank Gov. Sandoval for standing with the transgender citizens of his state against hate-based violence.”

Statistics on anti-transgender violence are startling.  Twelve percent of reported hate crimes were against transgender people according to a 2008 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program (NCAVP).  NCAVP also found that, in 2011, 40 percent of LGBT murder victims were transgender women, particularly women of color.  Seventy-eight percent of transgender children in grades K-12 reported being harassed in school, 35 percent physically assaulted, and 12 percent sexually assaulted, according to a 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

This bill to add gender identity and expression to the hate crimes law failed in the state Senate in 2011 by one vote. Then-Senator John Lee (D-1) failed to join his colleagues in supporting real protections for all Nevadans. Sen. Spearman defeated Lee in the 2012 primary election and subsequently introduced this bill as her first piece of legislation as state senator.

“This law sends a strong message that fair-minded Nevadans will not tolerate violence against their neighbors, colleagues, and friends, regardless of their gender identity,” added Rouse. 

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


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