Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed legislation Wednesday that is designed to prevent discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

The new law adds the phrase "gender identity or expression" to all existing state sex discrimination laws, making Connecticut the 15th state to specifically protect transgender people.

Anything under authority of the state's Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities is subject to the new rules, including employment, housing, public accommodations and credit.

"An Act Concerning Discrimination" -- or HB-6599 -- defines "gender identity or expression" as follows:

a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth, which gender-related identity can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person's core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose.

Advocates targeted legislators with a campaign that focused on the high unemployment rate for transgender individuals. In a recent survey (PDF), the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that the unemployment rate for transgender people was twice the national average.

"Our national survey spotlights just how pervasive and severe discrimination is toward transgender and gender non-conforming people," Task Force executive director Rea Carey said in a statement. "Connecticut responded appropriately to this crisis. We thank Gov. Dan Malloy and lawmakers for ensuring that the people of Connecticut, regardless of gender identity or expression, are protected from such discrimination."