Yesterday, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy signed legislation which adds “gender identity or expression” to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. The law bans discrimination based on gender identity or expression in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit, as well as all other laws under the jurisdiction of the state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Connecticut, which has protected its citizens from discrimination based on sexual orientation since 1991, now joins 14 other states and the District of Columbia in extending such protections to transgender individuals.
The law, known as “An Act Concerning Discrimination,” defines gender identity or expression as “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.”
A recent survey by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found 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.” Laws such as this one are designed to prevent such discrimination and give individuals legal recourse if they are treated unfairly. Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force thanked Connecticut lawmakers: “The alarming personal stories and stats show that transgender people face injustice in many places — from exclusionary workplaces to the grocery store to doctors’ offices. Connecticut responded appropriately to this crisis.”
The law was passed by the House on May 19 and the Senate on June 4 and now that it has been signed by the governor it will go into effect on October 1.