Kaden has lived in Massachusetts for over five years, and thinks it is a wonderful place to live and to study. And it’s an even better place for him now that he’s fully protected from discrimination thanks to #TransLawMA.
After wrapping up his studies in Women’s & Gender Studies with a minor in Education at a local university, Kaden now lives in the Boston area with a host of great roommates, three cats and six bicycles. Since graduating, Kaden works at a local nonprofit that works for full inclusion of LGBT Jews in Jewish life.
“Massachusetts is a great place—it’s at the top of the list when you look at places that are working to protect all people and provide them with opportunities,” Kaden said. Before #TransLawMA passed in 2016, transgender people were already protected from discrimination in housing and education. Still, without public accommodations protections Kaden still wasn’t fully protected from discrimination in Massachusetts. That spurred him to help change things.
“I think a lot of people didn’t know that people like me weren’t explicitly protected from discrimination in public places, that we didn’t have the same level of protection as everyone else under state law,” Kaden said.
Now, however, the protections Kaden enjoys under #TransLawMA are threatened. Opponents of equality have succeeded in placing a measure on the ballot this November that seeks to repeal the law, which would put Kaden at risk for discrimination.
While Kaden was fortunate to have never personally faced any discrimination directed at him, he saw firsthand harassment and discrimination directed at transgender friends in Massachusetts.
“I can tell you countless stories of others who have faced that kind of discrimination – I’ve seen it happen,” he said.
Now, if he or any other transgender person experiences this, they have the law on their side.
Kaden says that in addition to changes in the law, the push to pass #TransLawMA has led to a lot more attention being paid to transgender issues. But there is still a lot of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge—something he hopes #TransLawMA’s passage will change.
“I want people to know that this could be anyone in your life. You’ve sat next to a transgender person on the bus, we work in the same office building as you, we’ve always been there—even if you didn’t notice us,” Kaden said.
When it came to adding explicit protections against discrimination in public accommodations—places like hotels, restaurants and public parks—Kaden says there seemed to be some who thought transgender people were looking for something special. In fact the updated protections simply make the law consistent for everyone.
“We’re not asking for anything special,” Kaden said, “We’re just looking to be protected the same way everyone else is as they live their life.”
If you agree with Kaden that ALL people should have the same protections under our state’s non-discrimination laws—and you want to join him in the fight to make sure these hard-won protections aren’t repealed at the ballot box this year—take a moment right now to sign our pledge!