Connecticut Becomes Eighth State to Include Transgender People in Hate Crimes Law
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
On May 21st, Connecticut became the eighth state to incorporate explicit protections for transgender people within its state-wide hate crimes law. The new law adds "gender identity or expression" and "disability" to the characteristics covered by the hate crimes act. The legislation passed nearly unanimously through the Connecticut General Assembly. The House of Representatives voted 139-4 in favor of the additions; the Senate passed the bill 33-0.
Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, applauded the state legislature's actions. "The fact that only four legislators voted against the bill shows that this type of legislation has widespread support in both parties," he said. "Individual states are beginning to understand that the transgender community shouldn't be subject to violence."
The Connecticut Hate Crimes Network pushed for the bill. As part of the Connecticut Hate Crimes Network, the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition pushed hard for the bill's passage. "We have worked hard and effectively over the last few years educating legislators and the public on the issues surrounding gender identity and expression," said Jerimarie Liesegang, Director of the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition. Liesegang praised the state. "These actions send a powerful and empowering message to our community and its people."
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force provided support for the bill by sending out action alerts and providing testimony.
Connecticut's hate crimes law previously addressed violent crimes based on actual or perceived race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. The new law goes into effect October 1, 2004. The eighth state to explicitly recognize hate crimes committed against transgender people, Connecticut joins California, Hawaii, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.
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