Rhode Island is now the 13th state to include gender-identity and expression in its hate crime laws.
The Transgender Hate Crimes Monitoring Bill (S2488) was introduced to the Rhode Island General Assembly on February 16. It passed the Rhode Island House on May 24, and Governor Lincoln D Chafee signed the bill on May 30.
The Transgender Hate Crimes Monitoring Bill assists in the research and safety of Rhode Island’s transgender population. In addition, because the bill addresses all hate crimes committed from gender identity or expression bias, victims of all gender identities are protected under this statute.
Specifically, the bill adds gender identity and expression to Rhode Island’s hate crimes reporting statute, which already specified race, religion, gender, disability and sexual orientation as motivating prejudices.
This now requires Rhode Island State Police to not only report hate crimes based on gender identity and expression, but to also undergo mandatory training regarding the handling of gender identity and expression related hate crimes.
LGBTQ youth and ally center Youth Pride Inc. testified in front of the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee for the bill in April, and later released a statement that asked for the full Senate to quickly pass the bill, arguing the importance of transgender violence data collection.