A bill signed Tuesday by Governor Brian Sandoval gave transgender people of Nevada new protections against hate crimes.
SB139 added gender identity and expression to the state’s hate crimes law after passing the Nevada State Senate with all but one senator voting in favor, and a 30 to 11 vote in the State Assembly.
With the new bill, LGBTQ nation reported defendants will face an additional 20 years in prison if the crime is motivated by anti-trans sentiment.
A statement released by the Human Rights Campaign after the bill’s passage detailed the challenges trans individuals face nationally.
Many statistics indicate the re-occurrence of hate crimes against transgender citizens. According to a 2008 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program, 12% of reported hate crimes were against transgender people. In 2011, NCAVP reports that 40% of LGBT murder victims were transgender women, particularly women of color. Seventy-eight percent of transgender children in grades K-12 reported being harassed in school, 35% physically assaulted, and 12% sexually assaulted, according to a 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
“Transgender Americans are the victims of hate crimes astonishing rates,” stated Human Rights Campaign National Field Director Marty Rouse. “Yet the transgender community is often left out of hate crimes laws.”
The bill was previously introduced to Nevada in 2011, but failed with former Senator John Lee’s vote. After defeating Lee in the 2012 primary election, Senator Pat Spearman reintroduced the bill as her first piece of legislation as state senator.
“Whenever we find that there are a group of people among us that-for some reason-are more vulnerable, we protect them,” said Spearman. “That’s what we do.”
Maya Earls and is a second-year journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was born in Los Angeles, and moved to Richmond in 2000. Her first journalism experience was managing social media for the Rock4Life benefit concert.She enjoys exploring Richmond on her bike and finding good views of the river. Her favorite past-time is watching people dance in their cars from her apartment window.