Good news from Nevada! Yesterday Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, a Republican, signed into law bills prohibiting discrimination in housing (SB368) and public accommodations (SB331) on the basis of gender identity or expression. Last week he signed AB211, a bill prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of gender identity or expression.
Taken together, the three new laws represent fairly comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for trans people in Nevada. However, as housing, employment and public accommodations were each handled in separate bills, the outcome could have been less desirable. What are people’s thoughts on whether it is better to introduce a single comprehensive bill or separate bills like Nevada did? What would be the conditions where one approach would have a better chance at success than the other? Would we be cheering today if the Governor had only signed one or two of these bills into law?
The laws will go into effect on October 1.
Update: Responses below the fold.National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Nevada governor signs three transgender nondiscrimination bills
June 2, 2011
The Task Force applauds Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for signing three transgender nondiscrimination bills. The new laws prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on gender identity or expression.
Nevada becomes the 14th state with clear protections for gender identity in its statewide nondiscrimination laws. More than 130 local jurisdictions also have this coverage, meaning that now 42 percent of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction with one of these laws.
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 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 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.
The survey showed that 26 percent of transgender people have lost a job due to bias, 50 percent have been harassed at work, 19 percent have been denied a home/apartment, and 19 percent were homeless at some point due to bias, with higher rates for transgender people of color.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said today:
Our national survey spotlights just how pervasive and severe discrimination is toward transgender and gender non-conforming people. The alarming personal stories and stats show that transgender people face injustice in many places – from school systems that promise to shelter and educate, to harsh and exclusionary workplaces, to the grocery store, at the hotel front desk, in doctors’ offices and at emergency rooms. We thank the governor and fair-minded lawmakers for ensuring that all Nevadans, regardless of gender identity or expression, are protected from such discrimination. These new laws will literally save lives. We congratulate the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and transgender rights advocates for their hard work and leadership on this critical issue of fairness.