Toward the end of the 2000s, Gerri Cannon was fired from her job because she is a transgender woman – that is, she was raised as a male but never felt like it quite fit, and so she transitioned to live every day as the woman she long knew herself to be. Soon after, she was contacted by Representative Ed Butler to help pass a transgender nondiscrimination bill in the NH Legislature. That effort was defeated in 2009, and so Gerri’s hopes for passing a similar bill in the future were temporarily dashed. In 2016 and 2017, Gerri’s hopes were renewed as advocates in New Hampshire made plans to fight for another nondiscrimination bill.
“Throughout it all, I was extremely proud of the team of people leading us and the large number of community members that got engaged in this process,” she said. “Despite the odds, we submitted House Bill 1319 to our Republican-led Legislature and we witnessed the passage in the NH House and the Senate! Even the Governor signed it. My life has changed drastically over the past ten years. My dreams and self esteem has grown. Passage of this bill means that our NH Transgender residents won’t have to face the discrimination that I felt in the past. It means that we can publicly be proud of who we are, without fear.”