Written Testimony for HB 136 submitted to the NH House Education Committee by Shannon McGinley on behalf of Cornerstone Action March 9, 2021
Cornerstone Action takes a cautionary position on HB 136. We believe that in its current form, it invites potential unintended negative consequences for the student.
HB 136 is a requirement to update documents and software to include the option of identifying a student as non-binary. While we appreciate this is a natural result of recently-enacted legislation, we don’t believe “non-binary” should replace biological sex as a single designator as the bill currently directs.
Rather, we would recommend another field be created/used for this purpose. While non-binary is a self-identity issue, biological sex does impact other areas such as healthcare. By removing any annotation of the student’s biological sex, appropriate medical care measures may be delayed or not identified. If a student is unconscious, they would not be able to tell the healthcare provider themselves.
Additionally, a student’s gender identity could be fluid, so it would be helpful to have a baseline noted.
We believe the method of implementation needs to be carefully examined to ensure the student is not exposed to unnecessary risk. Preserving the biological sex designation while adding the non-binary option elsewhere in the students record would seem to be the answer.
We cannot support HB 136 as currently written. Thank you for your service to the Granite State.