Opinion: We need to protect all Granite Staters

Large crowds showed up at the New Hampshire State House on March 7, 2023, to push back on a slate of Republican-sponsored bills that would curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ youth. 

Large crowds showed up at the New Hampshire State House on March 7, 2023, to push back on a slate of Republican-sponsored bills that would curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ youth.  Zoey Knox/ NHPR

By HILLARY NELSON

Published: 01-31-2024 3:58 PM

Hillary Nelson lives in Canterbury.

I am the mother of two, a 29-year-old and a 34-year-old. And both of them, when they were adults, came out as transgender.

People like me and my family just want to quietly live our lives. And up until a few years ago, it seemed like that might be possible. In 2018, New Hampshire’s legislature passed comprehensive transgender nondiscrimination protections and it seemed the arc of history did, indeed, bend toward justice.

But a misguided and well-funded political minority has decided they don’t like living in a country where all people have the right to exist. This group wants to turn back the clock to a time when LGBTQ+ people were in the closet. To make this country a place where people like my children will be literally illegal.

Dozens of anti-trans bills have flowed through the New Hampshire legislature in recent years, and these bills are not homegrown. One only has to read the reporting about clandestine anti-trans meetings in other state legislatures to understand that this strategy has been cooked up in secret by national dark money groups. Such legislation is all about control of the many by the few, just like the book banning bills, and the bills eradicating reproductive rights that have been foisted on us by dark money zealots. This is a country-wide effort to overturn the civil rights of people like my children.

Here in New Hampshire, bills like SB 375, HB 1205, and HB 396, aren’t about improving life for the people of the Granite State. How does keeping a trans girl off the soccer field do any good in the world? How does forcing a bearded trans man to use the ladies’ room contribute to the well-being of anyone? This legislation is intended to make it impossible to live as a trans person — to erase trans people from New Hampshire and the entire country.

On Thursday, Feb. 1, HB 396, a bill that was recently passed, will get a revote. HB 396 rolls back nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in some public spaces. I urge my fellow citizens to contact your representatives to ask them to reject HB 396, and all anti-trans legislation that comes before them.

Trans people have always existed, and they will continue to exist no matter how many misguided, repressive bills are brought forward, and even, tragically, passed into law. I do believe the arc of history still bends toward justice, but we have a lot of work to do to reach the day when the civil rights of all Granite Staters are protected.

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