For Transgender Day of Visibility, We’re Highlighting the Stories of Bay Staters Who Helped Pass #TransBillMA March 31, 2017

Today marks the 7th-annual Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV), a day dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of the transgender community as well as the challenges they face every day.

The first TDOV was held in 2010 by activists who felt Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR)—which memorializes transgender lives lost to violence—needed a more empowering, life-affirming way to recognize the unique stories of transgender people. After all, transgender people are a group as diverse as any other, and raising awareness of transgender people’s lived experiences is key to combating anti-transgender attitudes.

That’s why today, for TDOV, Freedom Massachusetts is highlighting some of the hardworking transgender Bay Staters who were instrumental in helping pass #TransBillMA nearly one year ago. These amazing advocates came from all over the state, and from all walks of life, to stand up for themselves and speak out against discrimination.

There were members of Massachusetts law enforcement community, like Sarah Stowe, who had to fight to use gym and exercise facilities after her transition, even though her career required her to stay in good shape.

“It’s just crazy that here I am, a law enforcement officer who could be denied entry to any public space because of who I am.” – Sarah Stowe

There were also transgender Bay Staters like Jackie Ryan who are public officials themselves, and had seen the good that transgender non-discrimination protections did in their communities. As a member of her local school committee Jackie helped ensure transgender students could be protected from discrimination at school.

“We want to be able to have our own dreams and live our own lives without the fear of being discriminated against. Ultimately, we just want to be able to feel safe while being who we are. This is what we want. And this is what these laws do.” – Jackie Ryan

Transgender students and youth, in fact, were frequently the public face of the push to pass #TransBillMA. Jeanne Talbot, whose daughter Nicole is transgender, attended hearings and met with legislators, never tiring of speaking out about the joy of raising a transgender child. There was also Brandon Adams, who spoke in front of legislators about being bullied at school and denied access to the restroom because of his gender identity.

“I am here to pave the road for equality for my child and for all other transgender people of all ages who walk beside her, and who will follow in her footsteps. My work—our work—is not done until she is protected under the law.” – Jeanne Talbot

Freedom Massachusetts would like to invite everyone to celebrate transgender Bay Staters with us today, both offline and online via the #EveryoneWelcome campaign, which asks supporters to post a short video speaking out in support of protecting transgender people from discrimination in public spaces.

You may remember #EveryoneWelcome as the viral social media campaign launched by Attorney General Maura Healey that engaged high profile spokespeople and every day Massachusetts residents in the fight to pass #TransLawMA. Since then, our coalition partners Freedom for All Americans have taken the campaign nationwide.

If you want to participate, it’s easy: First, think through what you want to say in support of transgender Bay Staters. This doesn’t have to be complicated—just speak from the heart. Then, record your thoughts in a short (30-60 second) video and post it to social media using the hashtag #EveryoneWelcome.

Ready to speak out for TDOR? Click here to learn more about #EveryoneWelcome and post your own message of support.

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