Robbie Samuels is a mover and shaker in Boston’s social justice scene. For 10 years he worked at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and while working there in 2006, he founded Socializing for Justice (SoJust), a 3,000-member strong grassroots, volunteer-run, cross-cultural, cross-issue progressive community and network. He is also an author, professional speaker, podcast host, and coach.
Last year, he embarked on a new mission—being a dad. Robbie and his wife, Jess, are the proud parents of Grant who is now 18 months old and they are expecting again—another son this December.
This summer, Robbie is immersed in a juggling act familiar to most parents: balancing his role as a work-at-home dad with his busy life as a solopreneur business owner. Another change in his life that’s currently making these bigger changes easier, however, is the transgender-inclusive public accommodations protections that became law in Massachusetts last year.
“Knowing that I’m protected from discrimination when I’m out in public has taken some of the stress of becoming a new parent off my shoulders,” he says. “This is especially true when I’m out with my son. I can really focus on the joy of being with him, and being present, without worrying about us being harassed or refused service.”
“Knowing that I’m protected from discrimination when I’m out in public has taken some of the stress of becoming a new parent off my shoulders. This is especially true when I’m out with my son.”–Robbie Samuels
When Grant was born in December 2015, these protections weren’t in place yet, though the final push to pass them was gaining steam. Robbie, whose first instinct is always to raise his voice to support marginalized communities, knew that he had to be a part of that push, not just for himself but for his son.
“Of course, these protections are important to me as a trans man,” he says, “But when we had Grant, it became about something else too—the message that our state would send to my son as he was growing up. I wanted him to grow up in a community where all people are respected, and that’s what this law is about.”