Last fall, during an hours-long hearing featuring dozens of transgender Bay Staters, as well as medical experts, political leaders, and family members of transgender people – one woman walked through the halls of the Massachusetts Capitol building with an over-large poster featuring a bright, shining face. It was the face of her daughter, Nicole.
“I wanted to put a face to the public accommodations legislation we were discussing that day – the face of my 14-year-old daughter,” said Jeanne Talbot, Nicole’s mother.
Jeanne was testifying in support of #TransLawMA—passed in 2016—which extends full non-discrimination protections to transgender people in the state. Before #TransLawMA took effect on October 1, 2016, transgender people were already protected from employment and housing discrimination, but they were still vulnerable in public spaces: Restaurants, businesses, public transportation, parks, and more.
“Today I am here to pave the road for equality for my child and for all other transgender people of all ages who walk beside her, and who will follow in her footsteps,” Jeanne said. “My work – our work – is not done until she is protected under the law just as any other daughter, any other 14-year-old girl in the state of Massachusetts.”
Even though these protections are now law, that work is still not done. Opponents of equality have succeeded in placing a repeal of #TransLawMA on the 2018 ballot. Jeanne and other advocates will continue speaking out over the next two years about what these protections mean for people like her daughter, and the discrimination she could face if they are repealed.
Watch her testimony before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary here: