Nevada passes anti-discrimination bill

The movement for passage of anti-discrimination laws is spreading. Twenty-one states have laws banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. A mere thirteen fourteen forbid discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Meanwhile job discrimination, housing discrimination, harassment, and violence remain serious problems for transgender people. Here is a recent statement from NGLTF on a new law passed by the Nevada state legislature:

Nevada Legislature passes employment protections
based on gender identity or expression

WASHINGTON, May 17 — The Nevada Legislature has passed legislation prohibiting employment discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The measure now moves to Gov. Brian Sandoval for his signature. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been working with the Las Vegas-based staff of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) to pass these protections for transgender Nevadans. This includes sending organizers from the Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action to assist and train local activists there, as well as providing monetary support.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality recently released Injustice at Every Turn, which reveals the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. The study is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date. According to Injustice at Every Turn, respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment in the workplace, and one in four reported being fired because of their gender identity or expression. Transgender people of color experienced even higher rates of harassment and discrimination.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“This is a wonderful victory for the people of Nevada. We commend lawmakers for ensuring that all Nevadans, regardless of gender identity or expression, are protected from discrimination in employment. 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 made particularly vulnerable to bias and abuse. This law will literally save lives. We thank the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada for its hard work leading to this victory and we're proud to be a partner in this effort. We look forward to the governor’s signature on this important measure.”

[Update] This statement came out yesterday from the U.S. State Department on IDAHO – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia:

In every part of the world, men and women are persecuted and attacked because of who they are or whom they love. Homophobia, transphobia and the brutal hostility associated with them are often rooted in a lack of understanding of what it actually means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). So to combat this terrible scourge and break the cycle of fear and violence, we must work together to improve education and support those who stand up against laws that criminalize love and promote hate. As we mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia this May 17, let us resolve to redouble our efforts.

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am proud to reaffirm our support for LGBT communities at home and abroad, and to call for an end to discrimination and mistreatment of LGBT persons wherever it occurs. Whether by supporting LGBT advocates marching in Belgrade, leading the effort at the United Nations to affirm the human rights of LGBT persons, or condemning a vile law under consideration in Uganda, we are committed to our friends and allies in every region of the world who are fighting for equality and justice. These are not Western concepts; these are universal human rights.

Despite these gains and hard work, there is more to do to turn the tide of inequality and discrimination against the LGBT community. If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, know that the United States stands with you and we are unwavering in our commitment to ending this cycle of hate.

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