Maryland House of Delegates passes Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act

The Maryland House of Delegates today passed the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act (HB 235), which would prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and credit. The measure passed 86 to 52. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been working in partnership with Equality Maryland to pass the bill, which now moves to the Senate.

Lisa Mottet, director of the Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project, testified in favor of the bill during a committee hearing earlier this month. She shared data from the recently released groundbreaking report Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force with the National Center for Transgender Equality. This nationwide study included more than 6,400 people in the U.S.

The study found that Maryland transgender and gender non-conforming people were being fired, harassed, passed over for promotion and not hired simply for being who they were. This was not a small problem: 71 percent said they experienced harassment or mistreatment on the job and 18 percent reported losing their job just because of who they are. Likely due to this discrimination, transgender Marylanders experienced poverty (making less than $10,000 per year) nearly three times the national average; 12 percent reported experiencing homelessness; 17 percent said they were denied a home/apartment due to being transgender, and 22 percent reported having to find temporary spaces to stay in an attempt to avoid homelessness.

Statement by Rea Carey, executive director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

We commend the Maryland House of Delegates for moving the state a step closer to ensuring that all Marylanders, regardless of gender identity, are protected from discrimination in employment, housing and credit. The startling statistics and personal stories found in our national survey on transgender discrimination show just how critically necessary these protections are. No one should fear being jobless, homeless and going hungry because of discrimination. Without legal protections, transgender people are left particularly vulnerable to bias. We thank the Maryland House of Delegates for passing this legislation and urge the Senate to do the same.

The Task Force has been partnering with Equality Maryland by contributing financial support to underwrite the salaries of a field director and a field organizer; committing organizers to work on the ground in Maryland throughout the legislative session; providing legislative language analysis; and providing training and technical assistance to Equality Maryland’s field team.