Last Updated: June 4, 2019

About New Jersey’s Transgender Equality Task Force

In 2018, New Jersey established a Transgender Equality Task Force to assess the legal and societal barriers to transgender equality and provide recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature on how to ensure equality and improve the lives of transgender people.

The Task Force consists of 17 members, bringing together representative from state agencies, as well as legal and medical professionals who specialize in transgender equality and care, transgender advocates and parent advocates, and three community organizations: Garden State Equality, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, and The Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey. Additionally, per the statute, the Division on Civil Rights is providing staffing to the Task Force.

The Task Force first met in March 2019 and, over the course of six months, will conduct research, collect public comment, hold community hearings, and prepare a report for the Governor and the Legislature outlining its recommendations for advancing transgender equality in New Jersey.

Why We Need a Transgender Equality Task Force

Transgender people face considerable challenges in society, including discrimination, harassment, physical abuse, and social isolation. Transgender people also face considerable barriers in healthcare, education, employment, and other areas of public life. As a result, transgender people can experience significant health disparities.

When the New Jersey legislature approved the Transgender Equality Task Force, its decision was supported by the findings of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, which was the largest survey examining the experiences of transgender people in the United States.

30% of transgender people reported being homeless at some point in their lives.
75% of transgender people reported experiencing harassment in K-12 education.
1 in 3 transgender people reported a negative experience with a healthcare provider.
Read More About the Survey Findings

2015 U.S. Transgender Survey Findings

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, an anonymous online survey of over 27,000 transgender adults, 10 percent of respondents who were out to their families reported that they had experienced violence from a family member due to their being transgender, while eight percent of respondents reported that they were forced to leave the family home because they were transgender. Nearly 30 percent of survey respondents reported that they had been homeless at some point in their lives.

One third of survey respondents who saw a health care provider in the year preceding the survey reported having a negative experience related to being transgender, including being refused treatment, verbal harassment, physical or sexual assault, or having to educate the provider in order to get appropriate care.

Transgender individuals are more likely to experience physical violence than those who are not transgender when interacting with law enforcement.

Despite federal legal protections, transgender students nonetheless face daily challenges in accessing the full array of educational, social, athletic, and after-school activities that are available to students who are not transgender.

More than 75 percent of survey respondents experienced some form of mistreatment, including physical or sexual assault, between kindergarten and grade 12, due to their being out or being perceived as transgender.

Nearly one quarter of survey respondents who were out or perceived as being transgender in college or vocational school reported being verbally, physically, or sexually harassed.

Transgender individuals are disproportionately unemployed due to discrimination, and as a result, their circumstances may be rendered even more difficult by poverty, which survey respondents reported experiencing at more than twice the rate as is experienced in the general U.S. population.

Because of the myriad difficulties faced by transgender individuals in the course of their daily lives, as detailed above, they are subject to severe psychological distress.

Click here to read the full national report from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.

Click here to read the full New Jersey report from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.

Areas of Focus for the Task Force

Given the wide array of challenges facing the transgender community, the Task Force is focusing on several critical areas to improve the quality of life for transgender New Jerseyans, including:

  • Healthcare
  • Long Term Care
  • Education
  • Higher Education
  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Criminal Justice
  • Language & Terminology
  • Gender Identity Data Collection
  • Family Support

Members of the Task Force

Aaron Potenza
Director of Policy
Garden State Equality
Chairperson, Transgender Equality Task Force
Subcommittee Lead: Data Collection
Nicole Brown
Deputy Director, Office of Innovation, Strategic Planning, and Policy
Department of Banking and Insurance
Subcommittee Lead: Long Term Care
Adam Neary
Director, Office of Legislative Affairs and Community Outreach
Department of Human Services
Jackie Cornell, MPAP
Deputy Commissioner
Department of Health
Subcommittee Lead: Healthcare
Dr. Anthony Wright
Office of Innovation
Department of Education
Subcommittee Lead: Education
Sarah Carangelo
State Coordinator, NJ Gear Up
Office of the Secretary of Higher Education
Benn Meistrich, Esq.
Legal Specialist
Division on Civil Rights
Jessica Trombetta
Executive Director, Adolescent Services
Department of Children and Families
Subcommittee Lead: Housing
James Haas
Department of Corrections
Subcommittee Lead: Criminal Justice
Holly Low
Manager of Strategic Outreach
Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Dr. Ian Marshall, M.D.
Chief of Pediatric Endocrinology
Robert Wood Johnson Medical Group
Dr. Christine Hammlett
GLSEN North Jersey
Subcommittee Lead: Higher Education
Linda Steuerwald
LJS Communications
Subcommittee Lead: Family Support; Language and Terminology
Leslie Farber, Esq.
Leslie A. Farber LLC.
Subcommittee Lead: Employment
Jeanne LoCicero, Esq.
Legal Director
American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
Robyn Gigl, Esq.
Gluck Walwrath LLP.

Task Force Community Meetings

The Task Force is planning a number of community meetings throughout New Jersey during the month of July to allow for individuals to share their concerns with the Task Force. These events will be open to the public.

Newark
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
6:00 - 8:00 pm
The Firehouse at St. Clare
77 Academy Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Sussex
Monday, July 22, 2019
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Holy Counselor Lutheran Church
68 Sand Hill Road
Sussex, NJ 07461
New Brunswick
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Hyacinth AIDS Foundation
317 George Street, Suite 203
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Atlantic City
Tuesday, August 6
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Stockton University - Atlantic City
3711 Atlantic Ave.
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Jersey City
Wednesday, August 7
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
830 Bergen Ave., 9th floor
Jersey City, NJ 07306

Provide Public Comment to the Task Force

To better understand the needs of transgender New Jerseyans, the Task Force is also collecting public comment via email.

The Task Force is looking for New Jerseyans to share their personal experiences about being transgender and what legal or societal barriers they have or are currently facing in their day-to-day life.

You can contact the Transgender Equality Task Force and submit public comment via email:


TransEquality@NJCivilRights.gov

NOTICE: This email address is operated by the State of New Jersey, Department of Law & Public Safety, Division on Civil Rights. This email address is not operated by Garden State Equality or the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

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This website was created by Garden State Equality and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. This website is provided as an informational guide only. This website does not collect personal information about you.

This website is not affiliated with the State of New Jersey, the Department of Law and Public Safety, or the Division on Civil Rights.