A victory in Anchorage, Alaska last week that will continue to protect the rights of transgender people has provided momentum to the campaign to defend statewide nondiscrimination protections this November in the Bay State.
In the city’s first-ever vote-by-mail election, Anchorage residents voted down a dangerous ballot initiative by a margin of 52.7% that would have repealed existing municipal nondiscrimination protections in effect since 2015. Additionally, it would have redefined “gender identity” under municipal code to be based on sex at birth.With this success, Anchorage becomes the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to defend transgender rights at the ballot.
Fair Anchorage, the campaign that successfully defended the municipality’s non-discrimination law, put the stories of transgender people front-and-center in this historic campaign to defend transgender protections. The campaign built and elevated a robust coalition—including safety advocates, women’s groups, 40+ faith leaders, 50+ businesses and 110+ bipartisan community leaders.
“If it is possible to win in Anchorage – which voted down adding LGBTQ protections to its municipal law just a few years ago – it is also possible to win here in Massachusetts,” said Kasey Suffredini, Freedom for All Massachusetts Campaign Co-Chair. “In spite of this historic win in Anchorage, we know we can’t take anything for granted here. Opponents of transgender rights are seeking to use a victory in Massachusetts as a turning point so that they can gain traction to roll back protections across America. We can’t let that happen.”
In 2016, Massachusetts updated the statewide nondiscrimination law to include comprehensive protections for transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations, endorsed and signed by Governor Charlie Baker, and taking effect in October of that year. Since then, opponents of transgender rights have submitted the minimum number of signatures required, an already low threshold, to bring forth a repeal question to this November’s ballot.
Since then, Freedom For All Massachusetts has continued to mobilize hundreds of volunteers across the state to speak to voters about the need to defend the state’s existing, updated law. For our opponents, Massachusetts is their biggest experiment yet. They know if they can roll back protections here, they can win anywhere. So we can be sure: In the next seven months, anti-LGBT forces will go ALL IN to overturn our non-discrimination law at the ballot. This November, we’ll be the first state forced to defend dignity and respect for our transgender neighbors and friends at the ballot.
Let’s make Massachusetts the next historic victory for transgender equality!
Freedom For All Massachusetts congratulates Fair Anchorage on their victory, and is proud to take their strong campaign as an example for success. To see our calendar of events across the state and volunteer with us, click here.