Delaware becomes the 17th state with nondiscrimination protections for transgender people

Delaware TransEqualityThe National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the Delaware legislature and Gov. Jack Markell for today passing and signing into law, respectively, a bill banning discrimination based on gender identity.

“This measure will literally save lives. Congratulations to Equality Delaware and to all those who have worked so hard for so long to secure these critical protections. This is a wonderful victory for the people of Delaware,” said Rea Carey, Task Force Executive Director.

The Task Force has been working extensively with Equality Delaware over the past year to provide technical assistance and trainings. Technical assistance has included help in analyzing and drafting the language of the bill, the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (SB 97), as well as providing legislative strategy assistance. Trainings included leadership development for transgender Delawareans, trans ally trainings and “tell your story” trainings to prepare individuals to give testimony about their own experiences of discrimination.

Also, last year, the Task Force invited LGBT activists from Delaware to attend the Policy Institute’s Trans Focus States Summit, where they refined the legislative strategy for gender identity nondiscrimination in the state.

Until today, Delaware was one of five states in the nation that had nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation but not on the basis of gender identity. The other states still left are Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Maryland and New York. The Task Force is committed to ensuring protections in those states as well as passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to provide federal employment protections.

Recently, the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality released Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which reveals the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. The groundbreaking study is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender people, and paints the most complete picture than any prior research to date.

“Our national survey spotlights just how pervasive and severe discrimination is toward transgender people. The alarming personal stories and stats show that transgender people face injustice in many facets of their lives, from jobs to housing to their personal safety. Lawmakers responded appropriately to this crisis by moving to ensure that the people of Delaware, regardless of gender identity, are protected from such discrimination,” Carey said.

The survey showed that 26 percent of transgender people have lost a job due to bias, 50 percent have been harassed at work, 19 percent have been denied a home/apartment, and 19 percent were homeless at some point due to bias, with higher rates for transgender people of color.