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NH Alone in New England as Trump Rolls Back LGBTQ Protections

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New Hampshire law has anti-discrimination protections for residents who identify as gay, lesbian and bisexual, but not for transgender people. (Freedom NH)
New Hampshire law has anti-discrimination protections for residents who identify as gay, lesbian and bisexual, but not for transgender people. (Freedom NH)
 By Mike CliffordContact
October 13, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. – The Trump administration has been wasting no time when it comes to rolling back protections for the gay community, and Granite State advocates say that is especially true for transgender people. There are significant protections in place for people who identify as gay, bisexual and lesbian in New Hampshire.

But Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, a transgender man and the public-education director at Freedom New Hampshire, says those protections don't extend to trans-people.

"So, transgender people and their families are vulnerable to being fired from their jobs and being kicked out of restaurants, and being evicted from apartments, just because someone doesn't like that they're transgender," he said. "That's unfair."

Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would override concerns for the civil rights of LGBTQ people. Heng-Lehtinen says it would be an easy fix for state lawmakers to simply update current law to include protections for transgender people.

Mason Dunn is a transgender man and the executive director at Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. He says like the rest of New England, his state has no exception in anti-discrimination laws when it comes to transgender people.

"As a trans person who's also religious, I think it's important for us to say that freedom of religion is essential, it is important," he notes. "But freedom of religion doesn't mean that we give people the right to impose their beliefs on others, or to harm others, or to discriminate."

A September 2017 survey by Public Religion Research Institute found that 72 percent of Americans support laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

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