Monday, March 26, 2012

HB 415 Public Hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Originally posted on Apr 23, 2009


HB 415 Public Hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Current mood: pessimistic

Well I did something today, I wouldn't have had to courage to do three years ago. I spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee about HB-415 (transgender discrimination)

Yes, I know being post op a lot of HB-415 doesn't effect me as much as others. But it could.


I've never been so nervous in my life and was internally shaking like I had consumed too much coffee along with too many expressos. I was home for hours before my blood pressure returned to normal.


I think what shocked me most was the huge amount of speakers, pro and con. It was also interesting to see how many people in the year 2009 still don't understand the quite simple concept of the separation of church & state.


There were many anti the bill speakers obviously bible thumping as they spoke and many that were clearly plants from the supposed American Family Association. The AFA are the same people that fax and mail form letters to the FCC and politicians based upon things they are even familiar with. This is the same group that attacks Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Don Imus etc., based upon things they 'heard' and were 'shocked by' and their 'kids' were listening. Really? Your far from the demo base and you sent the same form letter as thousands of others, not in the target audience. How come?


There were also a few snotty, rich, bored house wives from Bedford, that appeared to be Tipper Gore Wannabes (think PMRC hearings). It was the "I don't like it, my kids may be offended, and no one elseshould be happy unless they are rich like me" attitudes.


I did get praise for my three minute testimony, which I surprisingly (to me) ended my testimony with the "I'm a former chairmen of the Merrimack Valley Young Republicans" and I'm not happy with the state of today's NH Republicans. That wasn't planned...I swear! I got caught up in the moment.


Then one real estate 'magnate' mentioned how if NH passes this bill, it'll keep businesses from moving into NH. What????? How???? Like NH's business taxes aren't the reasons businesses aren't moving intoNH the outrageous business tax?????


WMUR left before I got to speak, thankfully, but here is their story.

http://www.wmur.com/video/19264903/index.html

I arrived at 12:30, the session started at 1:00 and I finally spoke around 2:45.

Below is my testimony

Good Afternoon,

My name is Cynthia Tebbetts. I’m a resident of _________ and a life long resident of Hillsborough county. I’ve been employed in Hooksett and the same employer for twenty-two years. Two years ago, when I came out about my transgender status, I knew I was in fear of potentially losing my job. I was the first employee in the 92 year history of family owned, conservative company, to undergo such a transformation. As a single mortgage holder and sole provider for my 81 year old mother, this was a huge financial gamble. As a longtime, loyal employee with stellar reviews, I should not have had this fear. But unfortunately in the State if New Hampshire, I do.


I presented a five page letter to the company president. It detailed the changes that would be happening and allowed us to discuss the many issues and a time line that would be mutually agreeable. It also outlined what I needed from the company and what they in turn could expect from me.


I was assured as a long time valued employee, my standing in the company is secure. Unfortunately, not every transgender person has had that same commitment. As the president read through the letter, in my presence, he would often stop to ask questions or comment. At one point, he commented that he could make a few special rules. I stopped him and stated “Please, I do not want any special rules or treatment. I just wanted to be treated the same as any other employee” He agreed and thanked me because that would make things easier for him and for my one hundred plus co-workers.


Based upon my history of a sharp sense of humor, he reminded me that some teasing could potentially come my way but if anything should cross the line, he wanted to be made aware, immediately. This was re-enforced the next day, when the president spoke to the vice president and told him that should anything cross the line and the president not be made immediately aware, he was holding the vice president personally responsible. With this action, I was truly blessed. In New Hampshire, I was an exception. Numerous others aren’t as fortunate.


My part time employer, a much more liberal employer based in Massachusetts, also were extremely co-operative in my transformation. Granted I start there over nine years ago as seasonal help, as a valued employee, I’ve been kept on the payroll much longer than I had ever anticipated. As time approached for my legal name change, my manager was leaving
the company and a new crop of seasonal employees was due within weeks. Where legal, Newbury Comics immediately had me change all paper work to my new name, prior to the probate court order. They wanted to help make the transition much smoother for the new manager, employees and myself. Once again, I was very fortunate that I had employer, that was
looking out for my interest as well as their own.


As the current discrimination law stands in New Hampshire, I could have easily been terminated because of my transformation, immediately or during my leave of absence for surgery. But I wasn’t. I wish I could say the same for many others in the transgender community in New Hampshire.


I spent many years volunteering for conservative state politicians, whom have in turn have taken to the media with lies, hate, and fear mongering. Via these same people, I’ve been referred to lately as “an extreme liberal”, “sexual predator” “gender misassigned” “my kind” and a “pervert.” False accusations, all together. In some instances I was being viewed in the very manner of discrimination that this very bill is designed to prevent.


The transgender community has the same responsibilities as the general public. We also tend to give that extra ten percent because we have to work harder to become the people that we are. No matter how negative a light the general unwashed masses may look at us, our bills, mortgages and taxes and family values are that of the common man.


This supposed ‘bathroom bill’ has been sensationalized beyond recognition. The way it was been misrepresented is a travesty and a disgrace. We are simply looking for the addition of transgender people to our anti-discrimination and hate crimes statute. We need discrimination claims by transgender people the opportunity be heard by the Human Rights Commission.


We are not looking for special rights. Just equal rights that will allow us to be contributing positive members of society. No person should have to deal with discrimination and unfortunately, laws like this are needed because in 2009, discrimination still exists.

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The View From MySpace

No matter what happened, you can rest your head easy at night knowing you did the right thing. Far too many people are too afraid, timid, embarassed, lazy or just plain uninspired to stand up and speak out for what they believe in - what they KNOW is right.
All in good time, my dear! I'm proud of you!

Lola
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I'm proud of you, too... can't believe YOU are doing all of these public speaking things; when I met you 4 years ago I never had you pegged for this!!!

Seriously, I'm so proud; and I'm willing to help in anyway I can; as for now I'll just keep loving you...

Melinda
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I wish I could have been there, too, to testify.
Thank you so much, Cyn! I'm so proud and grateful for you for speaking up for yourself and all of us! ~hugs~

Jamie
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I'm proud of you and yes, I saw both you and Anne on the WMUR news. Unfortunately as you probably know the committee voted unanimously to recommend killing this bill

Karyn
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Oh yeah, parking around the state house is a two hour limit. My paid parking ended at 2:29 p.m. The session ended after 4:00 p.m.


Yes I got a $5.00 parking ticket. Time of the ticket? 2:31 p.m.


Welcome the the home of the 'tourist tax'

Cynthia (Me)
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killing the bill? WTF? omg people are sooo ignorant! Well, as i stated before Cyn, had i known it was public, i would of joined you for support. I am sure, despite the outcome, you were poised, and well versed in this information and presented an amazing argument.

The ticket deal....Well, just think..if you were in mass it prob would be 25$$

Mary

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