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New Jersey Passes Pro-Trans Law for the State’s Public Schools

November 10th, 2017


Transgender public school students in New Jersey will be protected from discrimination thanks to a new law signed by Governor Christie.

Transgender public school students in New Jersey will be protected from discrimination thanks to a new law signed by Governor Christie.

A group of newly signed pro-trans bills includes a law that public schools in New Jersey will not be able to force transgender students to use bathrooms or locker rooms that conflict with their gender identities. Instead, public schools are required to offer reasonable alternative arrangements to make sure that students remain safe and comfortable.

New Jersey Governor’s Approach to LGBTQ Laws

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has had mixed responses to legislation on LGBTQ rights. While Christie opposed same sex marriage, he declined to support the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Also, in 2013, Governor Christie signed a bill banning conversion therapy for minors, but has twice vetoed bills that would facilitate the process through which individuals can obtain birth certificates.

How the Law Will be Implemented Throughout the State

Christie announced that individual school districts will be tasked with determining how to handle issues concerning the rights of transgender students. All public schools in the state of New Jersey, however, must allow students to dress in accordance with that student’s chosen gender identity, create confidentiality plans to make sure that school employees do not disclose a student’s transgender or transition status, issue school documentation that matches a student’s chosen gender identity, and allow students to participate in gym class that matches the person’s chosen gender identity.

Responses to the Law by Social Groups

The group Garden State Equality has announced that this pro-trans law marks a significant victory for equality in New Jersey. Other groups like the NJ Family Policy Council have announced opposition to the law and requested that supporters notify legislators about these issues. After transgender protections were overturned by recent political changes at the federal level, New Jersey’s legislature took up the bill. Indeed, President Trump took a different stance from that of New Jersey by overturning guidance issued during the Obama administration to protect transgender students.

The Future of the Case

New Jersey has also recently passed another bill, called A4568, which prohibits health insurers, health providers, Medicaid, and state-licensed hospitals from refusing to provide medical service to individuals on the basis that they identify as transgender. As a result of this law, trans people are protected from being charged more for health insurance, denied coverage, or having their trans identity labeled as a pre-existing condition, among other types of protections. This bill appears to be in response to the story of Jionni Conforti, a transgender men who initiated legal action against a Catholic hospital in New Jersey after being denied a hysterectomy that was medically necessary as part of his transition. The hospital had denied this operation because the Catholic hospital argued that providing the operation was against the hospital’s religious beliefs.

In addition to New Jersey, the state of New York has announced its commitment to transgender students’ rights. There have indeed been many pro-trans developments for individuals in 2017. As various developments occur in the area of LGBTQ law, the Universal Life Church’s blog aims to keep its readers up to date and informed.

(image courtesy of Alex Jones)



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