Add your name below before we send this final letter to outgoing Governor Chris Christie!
Dear Governor Christie:
We are going to be straight with you. This is our last appeal before you leave office. Hear us out. More than two-thirds of the New Jersey Legislature voted this session to require the Commissioner of Education to draft guidance for school districts on transgender students. In the same session, a remarkable four-fifths of the legislature voted to prohibit health insurers from discriminating in providing coverage and services based on gender identity. The LGBT community and our allies in New Jersey urge you to sign bills A4652/S3067 and A4568/S3017.
Both measures enjoyed bipartisan support, with a strong majority (63%) of your fellow Republicans voting in favor of prohibiting discrimination in health insurance on the basis of gender identity.
As you are no doubt aware, New Jersey state law prohibits discrimination in public schools on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Yet with transgender students in every corner of the state, schools across New Jersey need guidance on how to work with these students and their families to provide welcoming schools. Civil rights are not a local issue, and access to education cannot be decided on the municipal level. Put simply, all students deserve equal access to educational opportunities and the path forward they provide, regardless of where in the Garden State they call home. It’s time for New Jersey to be a leader, and join with ten other states and the District of Columbia in issuing guidance at the state level. This is a matter of doing what’s right for all students, including transgender students. As Jamie Bruesehoff, a mom from Sussex County puts it:
“When my daughter goes to school, she doesn't think about being transgender. In her words, she goes to school thinking about being herself, learning, and having fun like any other kid. Every student deserves access to a safe and affirming school environment where they can do the same, and every school needs clear guidance on how to make that happen.”
We also urge you to sign a bill that would ensure that insurers in New Jersey can no longer discriminate against transgender people. This measure received widespread and bipartisan support, with a majority of members of both parties voting in favor of the bill and a final vote tally of 99-3 (both houses). These legislators recognize what the medical community has understood for a long time: transition-related care is medically necessary care, and should be covered by health insurance policies. Many of the conservatives who voted in favor of this bill did so both because it is the right thing to do, and because it is cost-effective. Jennifer Williams, one of our members in Mercer County, makes clear this is not a partisan issue:
"As a fiscally-conservative, freedom-minded Republican who happens to be transgender, I want our Governor to know that this bill will make sure that New Jerseyans like me have full and equal access to medical care in our state. All medical insurance policies in New Jersey should cover transition-related care for our community because it is indeed medically necessary and it is the right thing to do. My wife and I have supported Governor Christie in the past and we hope he will support us and other New Jersey families by signing this bill right away."
Signing these bills is the right thing to do for our community, and it’s the right thing to do for New Jersey. If you have questions, we encourage you to reach out to Garden State Equality. We can answer your questions and put you in touch with transgender New Jerseyans and their families who are eager to meet with you on these issues.
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