I am referring to natives of New England. They always seem to be ahead of the rest of the country (save, perhaps, for San Francisco) when it comes to legislation and policies that help to bring about equality for LGBT people.
Massachusetts, of course, was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Now that voters in Maine have approved such unions, the only New England state in which same-sex couples can't get married is Rhode Island. However, the Ocean State recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
Last year, Massachusetts Governor Patrick Deval signed a law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in employment, education, housing, credit and lending. It also makes violence against transgender individuals a hate crime. Now similar laws are on the books in all New England states, with one exception: New Hampshire.
However, the situation in the Granite State may change. As voters in Maine were voting in favor of same-sex marriage, New Hampshire's voters elected their first transgender lawmaker.
Stacie Laughton beat out two Republican challengers for one of three seats in the Granite State's House of Representatives in Ward 4. She says she hopes that her victory will inspire others in the community "to get into politics, or into any other position, for that matter". On the other hand, she says, "I don't want being transgender to be a focal point," and that she can "work between party lines and not let political partisanship hold us up when it comes to the important matters before us in the Statehouse."
She seems to understand that, aside from discrimination, those matters are the same for transgender people as they are for everyone else: jobs, the economy, healthcare, education and such. Would that others understood!