18 leading women's organizations across Massachusetts have affirmed their support for our state's non-discrimination law ensuring explicit protections for transgender people in public spaces like hospitals, parks and hotels—as well as gender-segregated facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms. These organizations want to make it clear: Ensuring these vital protections for transgender people does not diminish safety for women or children. It's already illegal to enter a restroom with the intent of harming or harassing someone. The protections secured under Massachusetts' non-discrimination law are vital to protecting everyone—including transgender people in particular, who face a higher risk of harassment and assault.
The ability to utilize public accommodations without discrimination, such as coffee shops, the MBTA, and hospitals, is a basic element of daily citizenship that most of us take for granted. For transgender people, the experience is starkly different. Nearly 65% reported in a recent survey that they had experienced discrimination in these spaces...
Opponents of this legislation have distorted its purpose and stoked illusions of fear about its impact. We write on behalf of the thousands of women that we represent, to clarify once and for all, that this bill will not make bathrooms and locker rooms unsafe for women and we are not in fear of it. There is nothing in this legislation that facilitates indecent or unsafe behavior in bathrooms.
Furthermore, transgender women are not men, they are women. They use bathrooms and locker rooms for the same reasons everyone does and, when they do, they desire the same privacy, decency and safety as everyone else. Assertions that a man could not just “wake up one day” and claim to be a woman, put on a skirt and then access women’s facilities are designed to instigate fear about transgender people but actually have no relationship to what it means to be transgender.
Forcing a transgender person to use a facility that does not match their gender identity makes them extremely vulnerable to harassment and sexual assault. That is why women’s organizations that advocate for victims of violence and sexual assault, like the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and Jane Doe, Inc., support this bill. Transgender women will benefit from this legislation while hurting no one. Those are the facts.