Jack Markell has signed into law legislation that makes it illegal to discriminate against someone based upon their gender identity. This offers protections to transsexual and trangender Delawareans with regards to housing, insurance, employment and public accommodations. The bill passed the Senate about two weeks ago, but it needed to go through the House and then the Senate one last time to bring the two versions into alignment.
The final version was passed 11 to 21.
The final change came after supporters endorsed an amendment that clarified how a trans*person could establish their gender identity. The amendment also added into the law that it will not protect people trying to use gender identity as an excuse to do improper things.
Sarah McBride, a trans*woman from Wilmington, stated “I’ve never been prouder to be a Delawarean. There will be none of the doomsday scenarios that the opponents of this legislation said and all Delawareans will see that in the coming months and years ahead. The only difference will be that transgender people will be safe and secure in this state.”
Opponents continued to try and fear monger claiming that businesses will struggle to properly accommodate trans*people who are customers or employees and that there are people who do not feel comfortable around trans*people.
Nicole Theis, the president of the anti-LGBT group Delaware Family Policy Council, claimed that “This bill is not a remedy for injustice. It creates more injustices than it purports to address.” Basically, it stops people from being able to discriminate if they want to.
Delaware becomes the 17th state to pass discrimination protections for trans*people.
There is some debate over the use of the terms transgender and transsexual with some applying the term transgender just to people who do not undergo transition therapies. This is the original intent of the term transgender. Later it would be used synonymously with transsexual, but not all people are comfortable with that use.