A package of bills advanced by a New Jersey Assembly committee would give transgender residents some protections against discrimination.
The measures help establish a transgender equality task force, provide access to business assistance programs, and prohibit health insurers from denying coverage based on gender identity.
Vernon resident Jamie Bruesehoff has a 10 year-old transgender daughter.
"She went from a really depressed and struggling boy to a really happy thriving girl. We know that in the future there will be medical care that we need. So we have our eyes particularly on the health insurance coverage and non-discrimination clauses."
Barbara the director of the Gender Rights Advocacy Association of New Jersey, says the legislation will help the transgender population.
"Our enemies want to keep us in the closet. So these laws are powerful tools to empower ourselves to change society. We have so much more to go. Not only here in New Jersey but on a national scale."
Aaron Potenza with Garden State Equality says one bill requires collection of voluntary self-disclosed data to ensure the transgender population is not overlooked by state resources.
“People are concerned to find out where mistreatment and violence are happening most. One of the things we really want to see is a focus on figuring out how we can address and epidemic of LGBT youth homelessness.”
Assemblyman Tim Eustace says transgender discrimination is one of the last vestiges of bias in our society. He says a firewall in the state will protect the civil rights that he believes may be stripped by the Trump administration.