Nevada’s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval this week signed two further bills designed to grant trans people protections in the housing and public accommodations sectors, reports the Las Vegas Sun.
The bills, Senate Bills 331 and 368, prohibit discrimination on the grounds of a person’s perceived or actual gender identity regardless of their birth assigned sex. In May, the governor signed AB211 to prohibit workplace discrimination against trans people.
The governor, who signed the bills without comment, has been praised by LGBT rights groups.
From the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
The Task Force applauds Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval for signing three transgender nondiscrimination bills. The new laws prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on gender identity or expression.
Nevada becomes the 14th state with clear protections for gender identity in its statewide nondiscrimination laws. More than 130 local jurisdictions also have this coverage, meaning that now 42 percent of the U.S. population lives in a jurisdiction with one of these laws.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has been working with the Las Vegas-based staff of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) to pass protections for transgender Nevadans. This includes sending organizers from the Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action to assist and train local activists there, as well as providing monetary support.
The Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality recently released Injustice at Every Turn, which reveals the depth of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. The study is the first large-scale national study of discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and paints a more complete picture than any prior research to date.
The survey showed 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.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said today:
Our national survey spotlights just how pervasive and severe discrimination is toward transgender and gender non-conforming people. The alarming personal stories and stats show that transgender people face injustice in many places – from school systems that promise to shelter and educate, to harsh and exclusionary workplaces, to the grocery store, at the hotel front desk, in doctors’ offices and at emergency rooms. We thank the governor and fair-minded lawmakers for ensuring that all Nevadans, regardless of gender identity or expression, are protected from such discrimination. These new laws will literally save lives. We congratulate the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and transgender rights advocates for their hard work and leadership on this critical issue of fairness.
Nevada’s anti-discrimination laws will come into effect Oct. 1 of this year.
Currently, no federal law banning employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation exists.
A federal trans-inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act currently sits in Congress. It is not expected to gain traction this year, however.
In the short-term, advocates have pressed President Obama to issue an executive order for LGBT workplace protections which would be a non-permanent and limited measure until ENDA can be moved in Congress. You can read more on the possibility of an executive order here.
For more on ENDA, please click here.