The LGBT Community has made tremendous progress securing transgender rights in recent years, but significant work remains to be done. Equal Rights Washington is dedicated to educating lawmakers, the public, and our own Community to ensure inclusion, equal protection, and equal access for transgender people. ERW is working with Ingersoll Gender Center on a project to ensure that transgender people in Washington State have access to health insurance that meets their needs.
Non-Discrimination Law – In 2006 the Washington state Legislature passed and Gov. Gregoire signed a law protecting people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation because of sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2008, King County voters overwhelmingly (71%) affirmed an amendment to the county charter prohibiting discrimination in county employment and county contracting based on disability, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Equal Rights Washington also continues to monitor and work on related concerns important to the Transgender Community, issues such as access to health care, identity documents and driver’s licenses.
Hate Crimes – 2009 saw significant state and federal gains in hate crimes protections for transgender people. With a supermajority vote, the Washington state Legislature amended the definition of sexual orientation in Washington’s hate crimes law to include gender identity and expression. At the federal level, President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law. This act expands the federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a person’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Additional Resources —Ingersoll Gender Center, headquartered in Seattle, is a respected mutual support and education organization for transgender and gender variant people and those who care about them. National Center for Transgender Equality is a social justice organization dedicated to advancing the equality of transgender people through advocacy, collaboration and empowerment. The Transgender Civil Rights Project of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force provides information and resources for activists. Many other excellent Washington State and national support resources are available, please contact Ingersoll for assistance.
7 Goals of Trans Activism Autumn Sandee, Huffington Post, 5/3/2013
Resource: Transitioning our Shelters (A Guide for Making Homeless Shelters Trans-Sensitive compiled by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Coalition for the Homeless).