Today, leaders in law enforcement join forces with transgender families and elected officials at a press conference to call on the Massachusetts legislature to take immediate action to pass SB 735 and HB 1577.
This legislation, which has been stalled in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary since early October, would explicitly prohibit discrimination against transgender people in public places like restaurants, shopping malls and sports stadiums.
Freedom Massachusetts Campaign Co-Chair, Kasey Suffredini—himself a transgender man—kicked-off the press conference saying:
No one should have to worry about whether they’ll face discrimination when going about their everyday lives and enjoying time in Massachusetts’ stores, restaurants, and parks. This bill would change my life for the better, and improve the lives of approximately 33,000 other transgender people living in Massachusetts today.
The legislation has broad support both inside and outside Statehouse walls.
Today, over 5,500 messages of public support for full transgender protections were delivered in-hand to elected leadership, in addition to the thousands of online messages generated over the weekend.
At the press conference—in addition to hearing from advocates, state officials and the parents of transgender children—we heard from Norwood Police Chief William Brooks, speaking on behalf of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association about why leading law enforcement officials strongly endorse the legislation:
There is no reason to believe that individuals —whether transgender or otherwise—will use these protections as cover to enter into the restroom or locker room of the opposite sex and engage in criminal misconduct.
Representative Paul Tucker—a former Massachusetts law enforcement official—seconded Brooks saying: “[SB 735 and HB 1577] is about ensuring safety for all Bay Staters.”
Just last week, members of Congress penned a letter to the House Speaker and Senate President urging a 2015 vote to affirm full non-discrimination protections for transgender people. This is in addition to endorsements from a coalition of twelve mayors.
Tuesday and Wednesday are the last voting days for the 2015 legislative session. If SB 735 and HB 1577 isn’t brought for vote before the Wednesday deadline, full transgender equality likely will not be considered again until 2017.
Brandon Adams—a 14-year old transgender teenager who also testified at the public hearing in support of SB 735 and HB 1577—closed today’s press event with comments on his experiences as the victim of bullying and threats, saying: “[This legislation] will save trans kids. It will save me.”