Task Force to testify in Maryland State House

Task Force Director of the Transgender Civil Rights Project Lisa Mottet speaks at this morning's press conference on HB 235

Today is a busy day for equality at the Maryland State House with debate beginning on HB 175, the Civil Marriage Protection Act and a hearing on HB 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act. At a press conference this morning, advocates voiced their support for the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act. This bill would prohibit discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and credit.

Lisa Mottet, director of the Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights Project, will be testifying at the hearing on the legislation this afternoon. At this morning’s press conference, she spoke about data from the recently released groundbreaking report Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the Task Force with the National Center for Transgender Equality. This national study included over 6,400 people in the U.S. with 132 people from Maryland.

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 experienced harassment or mistreatment on the job and 18 percent had lost their job just because of who they are. Likely due to this discrimination, transgender Marylanders experienced poverty (making under $10,000 per year) nearly 3 times the national average. Likely also due to troubles with employment discrimination as well as housing discrimination, homelessness was experienced by 12 percent of transgender Marylanders. Seventeen percent (17%) were denied a home/apartment due to being transgender. Twenty-two percent (22%) had to find temporary spaces to stay in an attempt to avoid homelessness.

At the press conference this morning, Mottet stated:

After hearing these statistics, I hope you agree that it is not an exaggeration to say that this law will save lives. Income from employment is critical to paying for shelter, food, health care — all things that many people take for granted. All Marylanders should have the right to seek and keep employment and seek housing without being turned away due to bias. The laws of Maryland should provide these basic tenets of equal opportunity to transgender Marylanders, in the same way as it already does so based on gender, race, disability, religion and other characteristics.

For all of these reasons, I urge you to pass House Bill 235.

For updates throughout the day on the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act you can follow the hashtag #HB235 and for the Civil Marriage Protection Act debate follow #marryland on Twitter.