Add the Words, Idaho (ATW) is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that has been in place since 2010.
ATW focuses on amending the existing Idaho Human Rights Act (IHRA) to include workplace, housing, public accomodation, transportation, and education rights based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity".
The 2014 legislative session will be the 8th session that similar groups has worked toward this goal. Every legislative session we have been denied a hearing where we can share our stories of discrimination and to move closer to passing the IHRA amendment.
81% of Idahoans believe that NO ONE should be fired from their job because they are gay, straight, or transgender.
In past legislative sessions, people posted sticky notes on the Senate State Affairs Committee doors asking the Chairman to allow a public hearing on the proposal to print a bill to add the words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to Idaho's Human Rights Act (IRHA). The stickies were a powerful presence, like having voices from all over the state speaking from the committee room doors. Since then, the sticky notes have been banned from the statehouse which has had a silencing effect on that voice.
Every legislative session has denied us a hearing where we could share our stories of discrimination. Last winter, we asked the Idaho Legislature to hear us. A special session was granted and representatives from the LGBT (gay) and business community were allowed to tell why the IHRA amendment is important. No Republican legislators were in attendance despite personal invitations. A bill to amend the IHRA was still denied.
For seven years our lawmakers have denied us a hearing that would bring us one step closer to having a printed bill, to be heard in the House and Senate committees and chambers, and to pass this much needed amendment.
This year, we traveled to the legislative districts across Idaho and met with citizens to show that even Smalltown, Idaho believes our Legislature should grant a public hearing and pass the amendment to Add the Words! In the eighth year of pushing to "add the words", we hope to pass this important amendment.