Freedom For All Massachusetts (FFAM), the bipartisan coalition committed to defend the Bay State’s existing transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination law at the ballot this November, officially launched their campaign today, showing already strong support from a broad coalition of more than 1,000 law enforcement officials, safety advocates, women’s organizations, businesses, faith leaders, educational institutions and more.
The launch included a release of a new video, detailing the fight ahead of us between now and November 6th:
Protections for transgender people in Massachusetts have been on the books since 2016, when Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed a nondiscrimination bill ensuring basic protections in public spaces like restaurants, hotels and retail shops after wide support from civic, business, and cultural organizations as well as the voices of thousands of citizens. FFAM originally formed to help facilitate the passage of this legislation. However, in 2017, anti-LGBTQ activists began gathering signatures to petition the issue of public accommodations protections to the 2018 ballot; reaching the incredibly low threshold needed for certification, the question of full lived equality for transgender people has found its way to a public vote this November, making Massachusetts the first state in the country forced to go to the ballot box to defend the dignity of transgender people.
At a press conference today held at the Mintz Levin office in Boston, the depth of the growing coalition was on display.
Transgender people and their families were front-and-center—including Nicole Talbot, a transgender teenager who, along with her mom, helped pass these protections in 2016:
Justice Williams, a transgender man, says he’s proud to call Massachusetts home because he’s proud to live in a state that has his back—and he knows a majority of Bay Staters will vote YES this November to uphold these basic protections:
The business community has also long been at the front of the fight to pass and uphold protections for transgender people in Massachusetts. “Supporting this law is not just good for our business, but is good for the Massachusetts economy as a whole,” said Eastern Bank Executive Vice President Nancy Stager, co-chair of our coalition of 250+ businesses in support of teranasgender equality. “Attempts to roll back transgender protections in other places across the country have cost those states millions of dollars in lost jobs, tourism revenue, and prestige. We stand with the hundreds of businesses, large and small, across Massachusetts in support of upholding this law and our Commonwealth’s values at the ballot in November.”
We were also proud to have Speaker Robert DeLeo on hand today, who was an indespensible leader in passing this legislation with bipartisan support in 2016. “The passage of the transgender nondiscrimination law in 2016 was one of my proudest moments as Speaker of the House, due in large part to the incredible advocates and families who bravely shared their stories,” said Speaker DeLeo. “Now we must do all we can to be sure Massachusetts doesn’t take a giant step backward. This is not about political party, as evidenced by the support of many Republicans – including Governor Baker – for this law. It’s about people. I’m ready to do all I can to be sure we uphold this critical law at the ballot because it is about the values Massachusetts stands for.”
Meanwhile, Jane Doe Inc., the Commonwealth’s leading organization working to prevent sexual assault and support victims of sexual violence, said clearly that the law ensuring basic protections for transgender people poses no threat to public safety.
“Jane Doe Inc. fully supports the existing state’s transgender nondiscrimination law because no one in our communities becomes less safe by laws protecting transgender people from discrimination,” said Jane Doe Inc. Executive Director Debra Robbin. “This law ensures we can all live our lives with privacy and dignity.”
At the launch, our coalition also announced an upcoming weekend of action across the state, with canvasses scheduled in Dorchester and Worcester on Saturday morning aiming to talk with thousands of voters about the importance of voting YES to uphold basic protections for our transgender neighbors, family and friends. “Jane Doe Inc. fully supports the existing state’s transgender non-discrimination law because no one in our communities becomes less safe by laws protecting transgender people from discrimination,” said Jane Doe Inc. Executive Director Debra Robbin. “This law ensures we can all live our lives with privacy and dignity.”
“Opponents of our state’s transgender non-discrimination law often use misleading tactics to misrepresent who transgender people are and what this law is about,” said FFAM campaign co-chair Mason Dunn. “We are going directly to voters across Massachusetts to ensure they understand that at its core this law is about our friends, family members, and neighbors, as well as dignity, respect, and safety for all.”
Together, we can make Massachusetts the first state in the country to uphold dignity and respect for transgender people at the ballot box! Take action today by signing our pledge to vote yes, signing up for a volunteer shift and making a donation to fuel the efforts to keep discrimination out of MA.