Trans Rights Activists Occupy State House Halls Against Discriminatory Bills

Print More

Ani Freedman photo

Trans rights activists gather at State House trying to meet with Gov. Chris Sununu. He did not meet with the group.


CONCORD – Gathered in front of the State House in Concord, around 150 people spoke out against several bills impacting transgender rights in New Hampshire that are about to pass over Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk. Chanting, singing, and hearing stories from transgender participants, activists implored the governor to veto four bills in particular: HB 1205, HB 1312, HB 619, and HB 396.

“The people in that building have not been on our side and have not been ensuring the rights of all citizens,” Grace Murray, Political Director of the New Hampshire Youth Movement, said in front of the State House. “They cannot legislate trans people away.”

Each of the contested bills impacts different aspects of trans people’s lives, from how gender identity is recognized, to education and healthcare. The bills awaiting Sununu’s signature or veto are as follows:

HB 1205 stirred quite a bit of controversy upon its introduction, with the purpose of prohibiting “biological males” from participating in female athletics. At the time of its public hearing, parents and children pleaded with the House Education Committee to allow kids to play sports as the gender they identify, while those in support of the bill felt it actually bolstered girls’ participation and success in athletics without trans girls’ inclusion.

HB 1312 is another education bill, requiring parental notification of educational curriculum involving “human sexuality, [or] human sexual education, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression.” The bill mandates schools to notify parents no less than two weeks in advance of the material being taught. It also “prohibits school districts from adopting policies that prohibit employees from answering questions from parents about students’ well-being.”

One of the more contentious bills, HB 619, prohibits gender affirming surgery for minors under age 18 in New Hampshire.

And lastly, HB 396 would restrict the classification of individuals to biological sex only in “lavatory facilities and locker rooms, sporting competitions, and detention facilities.” In an email, the New Hampshire Youth Movement stated that this bill “rolls back some of the nondiscrimination protections passed in 2018, opening the door to discrimination in public spaces, including restrooms.”

Those protections were signed in 2018 by Sununu under the law HB 1319, which “prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.” At the rally, advocates called out the hypocrisy if Sununu were to pass these bills, given the stance he took six years ago on protecting trans rights.

Kameren Munz, who identifies as nonbinary, used to be a teacher and said they’re concerned about the legislature’s passage of the four bills. They wore a sign around their neck that read, “VETO HB 396.”

“It’s legislated bullying and opening up our community to extra harassment that we already live with,” Munz said. “It is very cowardly on the side of the legislators who voted to pass these, counterintuitive to Sununu’s own bill that he passed in 2018. I don’t know how you can give a protection and right and take it away for no reason.”

Munz, along with the other advocates at the State House, is hoping that the bills won’t make it past Sununu’s desk.

“If there’s any moral compass whatsoever within Sununu he’ll loudly veto these bills,” Munz said.

After an hour of chanting, singing, and trans speakers telling their personal stories outside of the State House, the rally shifted indoors—into the hallways outside of Sununu’s office.

Most of the crowd made the trek into the State House and upstairs, where the group would request a meeting with Sununu to discuss the bills. Murray delivered petitions against the bills with 500 signatures, according to Linds Jakows of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group 603 Equality.

Murray announced to the crowd that Sununu denied their request to meet with him. That is when the hallways got loud.

Following Sununu’s refusal to meet, the activists began chanting “shame” repeatedly.

One of the advocates then led the crowd in several chants, shouting things like, “Sununu will decide our fate, protect trans lives in the Granite State” and “Chris Sununu grow a spine, don’t take our rights to fall in line.”

Their voices boomed in the marble hallways, but garnered no response from the governor.

Those concerned with the future of trans rights in the Granite State will have to await Sununu’s decision to veto or sign the four bills into law.

“This is the live free or die state. We all deserve to live free,” Murray said.

Ani Freedman is a recent graduate from Columbia Journalism School with a passion for environmental, health, and accountability reporting. In her free time, she’s an avid runner and run coach. She can be reached at

Comments are closed.