Press

The Task Force Praises Planned Introduction of Transgender-Inclusive Federal Hate Crimes Measure

Date: 
May 25, 2005

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Praises Tomorrow's Planned Introduction of Transgender-Inclusive Federal Hate Crimes Measure

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2005 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is hailing the expected introduction tomorrow of a federal hate crimes bill that explicitly covers crimes motivated by hatred of transgender people.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director

"This is a truly historic moment – the introduction of the first major piece of federal legislation that explicitly seeks to protect transgender people. We have worked for many years to see this day and we thank the bill's Democratic and Republican sponsors, led by Barney Frank, for making it a reality. We look forward to working with them and our friends, allies and heroes in the transgender community to push this bill forward.

"We hope the Senate will now update its bill with the new, more explicit House language so that we can support it enthusiastically as well."

Background

The bill is to be reintroduced by Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), IIeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), John Conyers (D-MI); Christopher Shays (R-CT), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). It would extend existing hate crimes laws that already cover crimes motivated by race, color, national origin and religion to include crimes based on actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity (including gender-related characteristics), making it clear that transgender people are covered under the bill, known as the "Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005." Previous versions of the bill covered actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation and disability.

Violence against transgender people is widespread and largely under-reported. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 11 percent of the 2,384 victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes recorded in 2003 identified as transgender.

The Task Force's Transgender Civil Rights Project provides legislative and strategy assistance, including evaluation of legislative language, to activists and organizations working to pass trans-inclusive anti-discrimination bills, or to add transgender protections to existing laws. It is the only project in the nation will full-time staff dedicated to transgender legislative issues.

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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.