October 28, 2009 – Washington, D.C.
Culminating years of effort by leaders across the nation, President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House. This is the first federal law to specifically protect transgender people, adding protections for gender, gender identity, disability and sexual orientation to the 1969 Hate Crime Act, which already covered race, color, religion and national origin.
"Transgender people have lived in fear far too long," said Denise Leclair, executive director of the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE). "When we are repeatedly targeted with acts of violence, we are deprived of the basic rights and freedoms that other people take for granted. This law sends a clear signal that we deserve, and are entitled to equal protection."
More than 250 people have been murdered for being transgender in the last 25 years, according to www.transgenderdor.org. The vast majority of these cases are still unsolved. This new law will provide additional resources for local law enforcement to investigate these crimes, as well as enhanced penalties for those convicted of hate-based violence. The law also requires the FBI to track statistics on hate crimes against transgender people for the first time.
IFGE is grateful to the 68 members of the Senate and 281 members of the House of Representatives who voted for this bill, and to President Obama who signed it into law. We also extend our thanks to the numerous organizations including the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and many others, for their years of lobbying for this law, and to the thousands and thousands of individuals who called, wrote, emailed and met with their representatives to urge its passage.
The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) promotes acceptance for transgender people everywhere through education. Founded in 1978, IFGE is the largest transgender advocacy organization with members worldwide. Since it’s founding, it has provided educational outreach for the emancipation of all gender variant people from restrictive gender norms. IFGE is a non-profit educational corporation with offices in Washington, DC and Waltham, MA, and is recognized by the I.R.S. as a 501c(3) charitable organization.
“IFGE - Promoting Acceptance for Transgender People Everywhere Through Education”
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