Garden State Equality urges activism locally in Trenton

492
Garden State Equality Lobby Day on June 28, 2017 in Trenton
Garden State Equality Lobby Day on June 28, 2017 in Trenton

Garden State Equality was lobbying in Trenton yesterday on several bills that will impact the LGBT community. The first is A4652: The bill requires the Commissioner of Education to develop guidelines for school districts regarding transgender students. Over 63,000 New Jerseyan’s are transgender, including an estimated 18,000 children under the age of 18. According to GSE. Lobbyists say they have seen many schools and families across New Jersey that will benefit if the bill passes.

The bill would provide equal educational access to Transgender young people, who reside in the state and provide equal treatment regardless of where in New Jersey they reside. The guidance provides a roadmap for educators and administrators, giving them the tools they need to ensure that all schools are a welcoming and safe environment for all students, said GSE activists. Two legislators have already voted no in committee. Anthony Bucco and John DiMaio activists say need to be persuaded to change their vote.

The other bill is S3017 which is geared toward prohibiting insurers in New Jersey from discriminating against transgender people by denying coverage for transition-related care. The consensus from the medical community is clear said GSE. “Transition-related care is medically necessary, and should be covered by health insurance plans. Yet plans in New Jersey have continued to discriminate, skirting federal law and regulations where possible,”  said GSE in an email. The bill will help bring full equality, and help New Jersey to reassert itself as a leader on LGBT rights they said.

Both of the bills mentioned will be voted on shortly.

Meanwhile, GSE is urging legislators to also vote to restore family planning funding for critical health services including cancer screenings, birth control and testing and treatment for STDs, by overriding Governor Christie’s veto of A3492. The legislature is unlikely to override any veto. But organizers are hopeful that this bill may pass with a “veto proof” vote in both houses of the New Jersey legislature.

GSE urges LGBT supporters to call their legislators and let them know your feelings on all three bills. To contact your legislator visit njleg.state.nj.us/members/legsearch.asp.