Task Force hails enactment of Washington state transgender hate crimes law

April 22, 2009

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, April 22 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire for signing legislation today that amends the state's hate crimes law to include transgender people. Senate Bill 5952 passed in the Senate on March 10 by a vote of 36 to 10, and in the House on April 9 with a vote of 68 to 30. The bill had strong bipartisan backing, as well as support from the attorney general's office. The bill updates the definitions of who is protected by the hate crimes law by reference to the state transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law passed in 2006. The safe schools law is automatically updated because it protects those who are articulated in the hate crimes law.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"Transgender people continue to face abhorrent levels of hate crime violence. Updating Washington state's law in this manner is a greatly welcomed development, especially as Congress is about to consider federal hate crimes legislation that includes both gender identity and sexual orientation.

"We thank Governor Gregoire for signing this critically important legislation today and applaud the Washington Legislature for overwhelmingly passing it. We also thank Equal Rights Washington and the Washington Student Lobby for their hard work leading to this victory. Violence against people based on their actual or perceived gender identity is a very real problem that must never be condoned. This legislation sends that message loud and clear."

More on state hate crimes laws: Washington today becomes the 12th state with a transgender-inclusive hate crimes law. Trans-inclusive hate crimes laws already exist in California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont. Additionally, the revision of the safe schools law makes Washington the seventh state with a clearly trans-inclusive safe schools law (joining California, Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey and Oregon).

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and 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.