In 2016, transgender Bay Staters and their families, business leaders, educators, activists and public officials packed the Massachusetts statehouse to speak in favor of updating Massachusetts’ existing civil rights law to include public accommodations protections based on gender identity.
And because they spoke out, it passed—signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on July 8, 2016.
One of those speakers was Brandon Adams, a transgender teenager from Framingham, Massachusetts. Brandon testified in front of legislators about the challenges he faced in a state that doesn’t protect him from discrimination in public places.
Brandon is no stranger to discrimination—several years ago, administrators at his school refused Brandon’s request to use the boy’s restroom, which caused Brandon to suffer physically and psychologically.
Now, because of the law passed last year, Brandon is protected from this kind of discrimination. But passing the #TransLawMA also emboldened anti-transgender forces, who have succeeded in placing a measure on the 2018 ballot that, if passed, would repeal these critical non-discrimination protections.
That could mean Brandon goes back to living in fear. At last year’s hearing, Brandon told legislators he worried what would happen to him if other students found out he was transgender.
“Every day, I live my life in fear. I’m scared. I’m scared because of who I am. Imagine that. What would happen to me? If someone found out? What would they do? Would they bully me, in front of my friends, or on social media? Would they beat me up? Or would they do worse?”
Watch Brandon’s brave testimony:
Brandon testified that he was told he could use the staff restroom, but that when he did other students would push him, shove him, call him names and harass him online. He also testified that administrators sincerely seemed at a loss as to what to do, although there was a simple solution: Permit him to use the restroom consistent with his gender identity—the boy’s room.
SB735/HB1577—which went on to become #TransLawMA—remedies this confusion across Massachusetts and protects transgender people like Brandon who simply want to live their lives and know that wherever they go in Massachusetts—whether it’s a local business, a hotel, a restaurant, or, yes, the restroom, they will be protected from discrimination.
Brandon and other transgender Bay Staters are confident that Massachusetts’ voters will affirm these critical protections—and they’re committed to fighting for them all the way to 2018. You can signal your support for #TransLawMA right now by committing to voting to uphold it at the ballot box next year.