On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate passed a landmark bill outlawing discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The state House of Representatives has already passed the measure, and Gov. Chris Sununu has confirmed his intent to sign it. What’s remarkable about this victory is that Sununu is a Republican, and both houses of the state legislature are controlled by the GOP. Democrats pushed hard for the bill and supported with near-unanimity. But it was Republican legislators who carried it over the finish line.
This bipartisan triumph for transgender equality contrasts sharply with Donald Trump’s unrelenting assault on transgender rights. Indeed, it should be been seen as a rebuke to his persistent attacks on LGBTQ Americans. The Trump administration has revoked federal guidance protecting transgender students, employees, and homeless people. It is poised to attempt to repeal nondiscrimination protections for transgender patients under the Affordable Care Act. And, of course, it is striving to ban open transgender military service by arguing that trans people are mentally unstable deviants. Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are the driving force behind the onslaught: Pence intervened behind the scenes to overrule Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ support for trans service, while Sessions has issued a stream of directives designed to undermine LGBTQ rights under federal law