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Aging | Discrimination | New Hampshire

New Hampshire Discrimination Q&A

Does New Hampshire have an anti-discrimination law protecting gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals from discrimination?

Yes. New Hampshire’s law banning sexual orientation discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing has been in effect since January 1, 1998 (see Norma Love, “Senate Passes Gay Civil Rights; Shaheen to Sign it,” Foster’s Daily Democrat, May 7, 1997).

Does the law protect transgender people?

Yes, on June 8, 2018 Governor Chris Sununu signed into law House Bill 1319, AN ACT prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity, which banned discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing based on gender identity. The law went into effect on July 8, 2018. The law amends NH RSA 354-A by adding “gender identity” to the list of protected characteristics. With the passage of this law, New Hampshire joins the other five New England states in banning transgender discrimination.

In the law, gender identity “means a person’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth. Gender-related identity may be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity, or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity provided, however, that gender-related identity shall not be asserted for any improper purpose.”

Does the law protect people perceived as being gay, lesbian, and bisexual?

Yes. New Hampshire non-discrimination law defines “sexual orientation” as “having or being perceived as having an orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality” (NH RSA 354-A:2, XIV-c). While the courts have not ruled on the meaning of the “perceived” language, it should mean that if a person is fired because they are perceived to be gay, they may invoke the protection of the anti-discrimination law regardless of their actual orientation.