The transgender community has made tremendous strides in recent years, but ignorance and fear remain significant barriers. Equal Rights Washington believes it is important to educate lawmakers, the public, and our own community to ensure inclusion, equal protection, and equal access for people who are transgender.
We had a significant victory in Washington State in 2009 when the legislature voted to expand the state's hate crimes legislation to include people who are transgender. Governor Christine Gregoire signed this act into law on April 22, 2009. Additionally, the federal hate crimes prevention act (often referred to as the Matthew Shepard Act) passed the House and Senate and was signed by President Obama on October 28, 2009. This act expands the federal hate crime law to include perceived or actual gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
While progress has been made, there is still so much to do. Equal Rights Washington is committed to advocating for a transgender-inclusive Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), and access to health care, including gender reassignment surgery and hormones.