Today, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act will become the first federal law to protect transgender people with President Barack Obama’s signature. NCTE’s Executive Director, Mara Keisling commented on NPR this morning, “It’s the first time that transgender people will be in federal code in a positive way. That’s a really important historical moment for the country—certainly for transgender people, but really also for the country,” she says. Mara will be present at the White House to commemorate this historic moment this afternoon.
Here’s how you can participate:
- We’ll be bringing you news along the way as this historic day unfolds. Follow us @MaraKeisling and @TransEquality on Twitter for up to the minute happening.
- Join us tonight for a conference call about what the hate crime bill passage means, with an update on today’s events and what legislation is next as we move forward.The call is free, but please register so we can reserve a space for you. The call is at 8 pm ET / 7 pm CT / 6 pm MT / 5 pm PT.
- Click here to listen to NPR’s story on today’s developments.
This new law will add sexual orientation, gender identity, gender and disability to the categories included in existing federal hate crimes law and will allow local governments who are unable or unwilling to address hate crimes to receive assistance from the federal government. President Obama will sign the bill into law today.