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State Senator

Saud Anwar

Representing East Hartford, Ellington, East Windsor and South Windsor

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Senate Passes Bill To Study Gender Discrimination In Response To Federal Government Attacks On Equality

HARTFORD, CT – Early Wednesday morning, the Senate passed legislation that would create a committee to study gender-based or expression-based discrimination in schools and workplaces across Connecticut. This committee would study current anti-discrimination laws and determine the extent of current discrimination based on gender identity and expression. State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) lauded its passing.

The bill aims to protect Connecticut residents from numerous actions the Trump administration has taken to backtrack on progress combating gender discrimination. President Trump banned transgender people from serving in the military without having any idea what it would mean for those currently serving or how it would impact our military readiness. The U.S. Department of Justice reversed policy that provided non-discrimination protections for transgender people in the workplace. The Department of Education also reversed policy and will not take action on any complaints filed by transgender students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity. Staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were instructed not to use the term “transgender” in official documents.

“No one in our society should be afraid to express themselves, but it’s all too clear that discrimination against LGBTQ people remains prevalent in our society,” said Sen. Anwar. “By approving this study, we have an opportunity to learn how our laws succeed and fail in protecting our fellow citizens, and we can address any failures in the future.”

According to a study of LGBTQ school students in Connecticut conducted by GLSEN, 85 percent of students were the target of homophobic remarks and 20 percent of students were physically harassed because of their gender expression. This is despite Connecticut updating its anti-discrimination laws in 2011. This legislation is designed to study the effects of those updates and the effectiveness of current laws, and whether further updates would better protect individuals in schools and places of employment.

This legislation received support from numerous groups, among them Chief Public Defender Christine Perra Rapillo, ACLU-CT Executive Director David McGuire and the National Association of Social Workers-CT. They argued that the bill would help fight discrimination based on gender identity or expression in Connecticut, providing better protections for many individuals, especially those who are transgender or gender-nonconforming. It would determine “whether enhancements should be made to the existing statutes to assure equal treatment and safety of this protected class of individuals,” Rapillo said.

 

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