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My Turn: Sununu’s position on transgender Granite Staters is dangerous



For the Monitor
Friday, August 04, 2017

This past weekend, a diverse crowd of nearly 300 from every corner of New Hampshire gathered together to fight for transgender equality and to oppose President Donald Trump’s shameful decision to prevent transgender Americans from fighting in the military.

The rally was a celebration of equality and an aspirational call for the N.H. tradition of equal protections under the law to be extended to transgender Granite Staters.

Gov. Chris Sununu was not among the elected officials to attend.

This is no surprise, given Sununu, unlike his predecessors, neglected to even once mention LGBT Pride Month in any platform, proclamation, statement, event or interview this past June. Unfortunately for New Hampshire, Sununu has an embarrassingly weak record when it comes to defending transgender rights.

In March, New Hampshire had a chance to join every other state in New England in passing legislation to give transgender Granite Staters equal protection under the law. The bill was derailed by New Hampshire House Republicans using a bogus bathroom argument, and the GOP members were too cowardly to even debate the measure, deciding to table the bill instead.

Sununu made only one comment: He had “no personal opinion” on whether transgender Granite Staters deserved equal rights.

Gov. Sununu recently came out against Trump’s military ban, meaning he’s okay with sending transgender citizens to fight to bring freedom to people around the world, but once they come home they don’t deserve the same opportunity.

Alternatively, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada ordered the Nevada National Guard to deny Trump’s policy. Sununu should do the right thing and follow his lead.

When Sununu says he has “no opinion” or works to deny Granite Staters their civil liberties, he is saying that rights of transgender Granite Staters don’t matter.

This stance isn’t just wrong, it’s dangerous.

There are young children and teenagers struggling with their identity and they are looking to their community leaders for guidance and acceptance. But instead of hearing words of support, they bear the stigma of being told that they are less than equal.

Sununu should want equal rights for transgender Granite Staters across the board. No Granite Stater should live in fear of losing their job, losing their home or being denied service at a restaurant or by a doctor.

Not only that, but he should fight for those rights even when some in his own party disagree. His position is to send transgender Americans overseas to defend our freedoms without giving them those same freedoms upon their return home.

Because of his apathy and incongruent stances on transgender rights, the governor is responsible for any abuse or mistreatment transgender Granite Staters endure under his severe lack of leadership.

(Ray Buckley is the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and a former state representative.)