The ACLU of Connecticut receives and responds to numerous letters and telephone calls from transgender people and their families affected by "pervasive discrimination in virtually every aspect of life," Staff Attorney David McGuire told a legislative committee March 21.

For example, he said, this can happen when checking into a hotel, going to school, dining at a restaurant, or taking public transportation-"activities most people take for granted."

Transgender people in Connecticut are covered by the 2004 state hate crime statute and by an administrative ruling of the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities-but they are not specifically protected by existing state laws against sex or ethnic discrimination.

McGuire testified before the Judiciary Committee of the General Assembly in support of House Bill 6599, which would add "gender identity or expression" to the state anti-discrimination statutes." Connecticut has no explicit law protecting transgender people from discrimination in employment, education, housing, and public accommodations," McGuire said. Including them "will codify statutory protection for transgender people. . .and educate the people of Connecticut that it is unlawful to discriminate" against them.

He added that state and local laws covering 40 per cent of the U.S. population prohibit this form of discrimination-including the states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

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