BOSTON — Legislators this morning met with representatives from large and small businesses at the Massachusetts state house for a briefing on implementation of SB 735/HB 1577, the bill that would ensure full protections for transgender people in public places.
Participating businesses included Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Eastern Bank, Cambridge Health Alliance, Partners Health Care, Liberty Mutual, Biogen, Cambridge Common, State Street Corporation, and more. The event was sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Reps. Byron Rushing (D-Boston, South End), Denise Provost (D-Somerville), and Sheila Harrington (R-Groton), and Senators Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston) and Richard Ross (R-Wrentham).
“Since June 2015, more than 250 businesses across the state have spoken out vocally and enthusiastically in support of the transgender protections bill that has been stalling in the legislature,” said Carly Burton, campaign manager of Freedom Massachusetts. “Public places such as restaurants, shopping malls, parks, and medical offices should be welcoming to all, and would have an immediate, positive impact on the Commonwealth. Massachusetts’ law should be updated to include full protections for transgender people as soon as possible.”
At the briefing, businesses discussed their longstanding support for transgender people and transgender-inclusive policies in the workplace, as well as the need for a statewide law that ensures protections in all other parts of life beyond the job.
“Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has long stood for LGBT equality because we know the importance of making all of our employees and members we serve feel welcome and valued,” said Karen Young of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. “The transgender protections bill would ensure that all Massachusetts residents are treated fairly in all aspects of their lives, and would echo the policies we already have in place and that we know work well at our company. Our members should feel safe not only within our offices, but every time they step outside and live their lives elsewhere throughout the Bay State.”
“Inclusive practices are good for any business that wants to reach as many people as possible and maximize its productivity and revenue,” said Justice Williams of Mike’s Fitness/BodyImage for Justice. “Local businesses thrive when they send a message that their doors are open to all. Ensuring full protections for transgender people is good for the economy, and it’s the right thing to do.”
This week, PayPal announced that it is canceling a planned expansion in North Carolina as a result of the state’s new anti-LGBT law that prevents transgender people from using restrooms and facilities that correspond to who they are. The expansion would have brought 400 new jobs and $4 million in investments to North Carolina.
State Representatives Byron Rushing and Denise Provost and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz are lead sponsors of the Massachusetts bill (House Bill 1577/Senate Bill 735). For more information, visit www.freedommassachusetts.org.