Today the Commonwealth capitol city took a major step in support of SB 735/HB 1577, legislation that would update the state’s non-discrimination laws to protect transgender Bay Staters in public places.
In a unanimous vote the Boston City Council passed a resolution calling on state legislators to pass SB 735/HB 1577 and affirm the common human dignity and rights of transgender people.
The resolution also undercuts the arguments of bill opponents, who have been peddling misinformation about who transgender people are in efforts to scare lawmakers out of passing the important civil rights bill.
Our own campaign manager, Carly Burton, says Massachusetts could stand to take a lesson from Boston:
Having the support of the Boston City Council sends a powerful message to any doubters that these types of protections work. Boston has had protections in place for 14 years and the sky has not fallen. In fact, the safety and well-being of all residents has been improved.
17 states and 200+ cities—including Boston and more than a dozen other municipalities across Massachusetts—have passed transgender-inclusive comprehensive non-discrimination laws to great success.
Massachusetts passed a statewide law prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2011, but excluded protections for transgender people in public accommodations. Lesbian, gay and bisexual Bay Staters are fully protected everywhere.
The Boston Resolution is just the latest indication that public support for SB 735/HB 1577 is stronger than ever and steadily growing. A 12-person Mayors for Freedom coalition endorsed the legislation months ago. Major law enforcement agencies have also thrown their weight behind the bill.
This vote of support coupled with endorsements from leading education associations and major women’s rights organizations signals that this bill poses no threat whatsoever to public safety. In fact, it serves to augment the privacy and safety of transgender Bay Staters.
A 2011 study showed that 58% of transgender people in Massachusetts have been harassed in a place of public accommodation, including restaurants, shopping malls, doctors offices, hotels, etc. This population is 84% more likely to experience adverse physical effects and 99% more likely to experience emotional effects—like frustration, anger and sadness, according to a 2014 study.
Until Massachusetts lawmakers vote to pass SB 735/HB 1577, transgender Bay Staters will continue to live under daily threat of discrimination and harm in public places. Click here to rush a message endorsing this critically needed civil rights legislation and urging a swift vote.