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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘Being different is frowned upon,’ ‘People are bullied for it,’ ‘A hostile environment’

In testimony so far this afternoon on HB 2, the “Add the Words” bill, seven people have testified, five for the bill, one against, and one undecided.

Christine Antoniuk said, “Our son would not ever willingly subject himself to the hardship and ridicule that being transgender entails. Members of the committee, I’m sure that you are also proud of your children and grandchildren. … We now worry for his safety. We worry that he will be bullied or ostracized or even worse. My stomach lurches when I think about his prospects in a place where just being different is frowned upon. … Our son can now be denied service in a restaurant, be singled out in a bathroom in school, or be denied from entering school sports teams just because of his gender identity.”

The Rev. Guy Perkins, a Boise native who spoke out in favor of the bill, told the committee, “It seemed the boys at school knew my orientation decades before I realized it. Yet in testimonies we are concerned how can you tell. Well, evidently the community can tell, because people are bullied for it.”

David Stout said after his employer, Hewlett-Packard, passed a policy protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, he experienced reverse discrimination, being sexually harassed on the job by gay co-workers. “A hostile environment took place at Hewlett-Packard. … Nobody should ever have to endure sexual harassment of any sort, teasing or anything,” he said. “Harassment in this country should not be tolerated, regardless of what form it comes in.” He said he couldn’t say if he’s for or against the bill. “I’ll let you legislators make your decision based on what you think,” he said.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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