Maryland Senate fails to pass Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force expressed disappointment in the Maryland Senate’s failure to pass the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act today. The bill would have prohibited discrimination in the areas of employment, housing and credit. This final day of the session, the Senate voted to recommit the bill to committee. The House previously passed the bill in an 86-52 vote. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been working in partnership with Equality Maryland to secure gender identity protections, and will continue to do so.

Lisa Mottet, director of the Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project, testified in favor of the legislation at House and Senate hearings. 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 and 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 are. 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 under $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 Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey:

The Maryland Senate today turned its back on an opportunity to recognize and affirm our common humanity. As the startling statistics and heart-wrenching personal stories found in our national survey on transgender discrimination show, this bill would literally save lives. Income from employment is critical to paying for shelter, food, health care — critical to quality of life and even to survival. No one should fear being jobless, homeless and going hungry because of discrimination. Without legal protections, transgender people are made particularly vulnerable to this neglect, bias and abuse. Despite this setback, we are confident that Maryland will eventually join the many states that currently extend the essential security and nondiscrimination protections to transgender people. We will continue to stand with Equality Maryland until equality is achieved.