New Hampshire Trans Rights Crisis: Governor Urged to Veto Four Controversial State Bills

Four bills affecting trans people are set to pass into law in New Hampshire, causing conflict between LGBTQ advocates and Republican lawmakers.

Four Controversial Bills

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This year, Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire have passed four controversial bills through the State House and Senate that directly affect trans people. Now, advocacy groups are calling on Governor Chris Sununu to veto them.

Protests in New Hampshire

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For the last month, LGBTQ activists and supporters have been calling the governor’s office and even protesting with signs outside of the New Hampshire Statehouse in opposition to the four bills.

Affecting State’s LGBTQ Community

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These bills include House Bills 619, 1205, 1312, and 396, and cover a number of LGBTQ-adjacent issues.

Implications for Trans People

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If signed into law, they will have significant implications for LGBTQ minors and adults, particularly those who identify as transgender and/or gender-nonconforming.

Life-Changing Laws

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This includes restrictions on school sports participation for transgender students, banning gender-affirming care for minors, and more stringent policies around materials used by public school teachers to teach about gender, sexuality, and gender identity.

Gender Identity Rights Bill

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It also includes House Bill 396, which will repeal some aspects of a gender identity rights bill that Sununu signed into law back in 2018. Sununu approved the decision to add gender identity to a list of anti-discrimination laws.

Classification Based on Biological Sex

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If HB 396 is passed, it will allow state organizations and institutions to legally classify trans people by their biological sex rather than preferred gender, controlling how they use public bathrooms and locker rooms, how they are classified in prisons, and more.

“The Right Thing to Do”

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This is despite Sununu calling the 2018 bill “just the right thing to do,” at the time that it was passed, according to trans advocate Linds Jakows. 

Waiting on Sununu

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All four bills are now on their way to Sununu, who, as the New Hampshire state governor, will have to sign them into law before they can take effect. 

Conflicting Perspectives

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While supporters of the bills argue that they are being put in place to keep minors safe – particularly in the case of school sports teams, curriculums, and gender-affirming care – activists argue that these bills will only serve to hurt transgender youth.

Impossible to Live Freely

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“The bottom line is we’re supposed to live in a country where we’re all supposed to be able to live freely, and especially in the state, and these bills make that impossible,” said Grace Murray, director of the New Hampshire Youth Movement.

New Hampshire Youth Movement Reacts

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The NHYM is a non-profit political organization advocating for young people in the state, and weighing in on legislation that affects their material reality.

Republicans Speak Out

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A slate of Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire have also come forward to defend these pending laws in various ways, urging Sununu to sign the bills. 

“Stand Up and Protect Girls’ Sports”

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“I would urge Governor Sununu to stand up and protect girls’ sports,” said Casey Crane, one of the GOP candidates for the state’s 2nd Congressional District, in support of HB 1205. 

“It’s Common Sense”

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“Girls’ sports are for girls. It’s common sense,” she continued. “We don’t want to see a girl get hurt, we don’t even want to see a girl lose a scholarship. That’s what’s happening down in Massachusetts, that’s not the New Hampshire way.” 

Exact Stance Unclear

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As for Sununu, based on a recent response to protests during an interview for CloseUP, it is still unclear where he stands on all four bills. He did directly comment on HB 1025, which will stop biologically male students from joining female school sports teams.

A Changing Environment

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Sununu acknowledged the feelings of protestors but explained that the legal discussion around gender identity is now markedly different than it was in 2018.

More Than Just One Group?

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“You’ve seen all across the country other stories of state champions, biological boys becoming state champions,” he said. “It does have a resonating effect. So, no, you never want to look at any law about how it affects one person or just one group. My job is to really look out for and try to pass the best laws and the best policies that affect 1.4 million people.”

No Comment for Other Bills

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He still has yet to publicly comment on the remaining three bills that are being protested by LGBTQ and youth groups.

Waiting for an Answer

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While the four bills have not yet landed on the governor’s desk for consideration, trans advocates and conservative lawmakers in New Hampshire are awaiting his final decision with bated breath.

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