Over the past 24 hours, the Massachusetts House and Senate have both passed the bill, “An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights.” Once Governor Patrick signs this bill into law, Massachusetts will be the 16th state in the nation that affords legal anti-discrimination protections to transgender individuals. The press release from the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition reads as follows:
Transgender Equal Rights Now a Reality in Massachusetts
November 16th, 2011
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is proud to announce the passing of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill in the House and the Senate extending civil rights and hate crimes protections to the state’s transgender residents.
Last night, just before 9:00 PM, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Transgender Equal Rights bill without any amendments. This morning by 10:30 AM, the bill passed in the Massachusetts Senate. The bill must still be approved once more in Senate the Governor can sign it. As we wait for Governor Deval Patrick to officially sign this bill into law, we can celebrate the impact this will have on our transgender youth, adults, and families across the Commonwealth.
MTPC thanks our legislative lead sponsors Representative Carl Sciortino, Representative Byron Rushing, Senator Ben Downing, and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz; all of the House and Senate co-sponsors, and the leadership of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray for providing vital protections for approximately 33,000 transgender residents here in Massachusetts.
This bill will give transgender people equal protections when seeking employment, housing, credit, and education.The bill also expands the state’s hate crimes protections to now include transgender people; a community that experiences alarmingly disproportionate levels of harassment and violence.
The final version of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill passed by the legislature unfortunately does not include protections within public accommodations. MTPC and our coalition partners fought hard to try to get public accommodations restored in the Senate version of the bill, and were unsuccessful in doing so. Although this bill does not include public accommodations, this is a historic and important victory in the fight for achieving transgender equality in Massachusetts.
“This is not the end of our fight, and MTPC is committed to getting public accommodations protections for our transgender youth, adults, and families. MTPC plans on introducing a bill for the 2013 legislative session for those public accommodations protections,” said Gunner Scott, Executive Director of MTPC. “For now, let’s be proud of the difference this bill will make in the daily lives of thousands of people across the state who need jobs, a safe place to live and access to education.”
MTPC expresses our deepest gratitude to our community members, who have spent countless hours educating their legislators and the general public about the issues transgender people face. “It is because of the courage of our community members to come forward and tell their personal stories about themselves, their family members, and their friends that we have accomplished this milestone,” said Nancy Nangeroni, Steering Committee Chair of MTPC.
MTPC thanks the members of the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition including MassEquality, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), ACLU of Massachusetts, MassNOW, Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, Jobs with Justice, and Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality for their tireless work on behalf of transgender equal rights.
Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is a 501(c) 3 that works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC educates the public, advocates with state, local, and federal government, engages in political activism, and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action.