Your calls, emails, letters, tweets, and more these last few weeks have worked! Both the House and Senate Committees working on the H.333 and H.230 bills voted them out of committee and they made it to full votes! Updates below!
The Bills to Watch:
H.333: The Bathroom Bill
Bill language: “An act requiring single-stall restrooms in public buildings/places of public accommodation to be gender-free.”
Translation: All existing single-stall restrooms would be relabeled as gender-free, providing critical bathroom access to trans and gender-nonconforming Vermonters of all ages, in every single Vermont town and city, in basically any building that is open to the public.
Status [Updated 4/21/17]: The House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs passed the committee 10-1 and passed the full House decidedly. It must wait till January to be taken up by the Senate next.
What you can do right now:
Contact your State Senator and make sure they vote YES next session when it comes to them: Find your State Senator Here.
H.230 Youth Mental Health Rights Bill
Bill language: “An act allowing minors to consent to their own mental health treatment.”
Translation: Youth would be able to talk to mental health providers or their therapists about any issues, without their parents needing to know. This critical protection of privacy allows mental health professionals to work with Vermont youth to meet their needs, free from fear of parental or family interference.
Status [4/21/17]: The Senate Committee on Health and Welfare decided to “strike all” the original content of the H.230 bill and expand the language so that any youth, for any issue, can seek mental health treatment without parental consent. This aligns with bills in 20+ other states. While this no longer focuses in on only queer and trans youth, it would still achieve mental health rights for these youth and now, ALL Vermont youth. The bill moved out of committee and was passed by the full Senate, which makes it law on July 1, 2017.
Contact your direct state representatives and say thank you!
H.492 Racial Justice Bill
Bill language: “This bill proposes to establish the Racial Justice Oversight Board to manage and oversee the implementation of 10 racial justice reform across the State.”
Status: Success! It passed the house today! Next stop the Senate, likely next session (in January). See how your reps voted.
Still feeling fired up? Did you know UVM Medical Center needs a nudge too?
UVM Medical Center does not have preferred names and pronouns incorporated into its vast electronic medical record system. A persistent group of UVMMC employees have been working to change this, the hospital administration says they want to address it, but they are now facing an “IT priority list” roadblock.
Why is this pressing?
Currently, when a patient has a preferred name or pronoun preference that doesn’t match their legal name or legal sex marker, this information is located in a part of the chart where it is not readily apparent to providers or staff. As a result, time and time again patients are not being addressed by their preferred name and pronouns by staff and providers here at the hospital (often simply because the information was not visible).
Let’s nudge them!
When the hospital administration hear from families and patients who are most impacted by a problem (such as via emails and letters), this can help to bring resolution faster—in this situation, it may help to push this project up closer to the front of the line.
If you have been impacted by this issue when seeking care at UVMMC, send an email or letter to the UVMMC administration urging them to make it a priority in the IT electronic medical records list.
An example of what to say: “All patients deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, including having their preferred names and pronouns used, and this upgrade to the electronic records cannot be delayed any further. When preferred names and pronouns are clearly documented, they can be used in all patient interactions, making UVMMC a truly welcoming place for all patients.”
Share any personal stories you’re comfortable sharing that help to illustrate why this is important to you, your family, and/or your community too!
Email: Jamie.firstname.lastname@example.org (who will send them along to the UVMMC administration).
Write letters to:
ATTN: Dr. Jamie Mehringer, Pediatric Chief Resident
111 Colchester Ave, Smith 568
Burlington, VT 05401
All done? High Fives!