In October 2015, 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 men’s restroom, which caused Brandon to suffer physically and psychologically.
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?”
As legislators began to debate SB 735/HB 1577—which would prohibit gender identity discrimination in public spaces, like schools—Brandon decided to speak publicly in favor of the bill and stop living in fear.
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.
Repealing #TransLawMA would take these protections away, and Brandon would go back to living in fear. Unfortunately, opponents of equality have succeeded in placing a repeal of #TranLawMA on the 2018 general election ballot.
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.