BOSTON – Several prominent women’s organizations have announced their support for legislation that would create explicit protections for transgender people in public places in Massachusetts. In a letter to state legislators the president of the Women’s Bar Association (WBA) of Massachusetts and the president of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization (Mass NOW) for Women – on behalf of 16 organizations – called on lawmakers to pass the legislation without further delay.
Currently, there is no explicit prohibition on discrimination against transgender people in public places in the Commonwealth. This includes parks, medical offices, restaurants and retail establishments, as well as gender-segregated facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms.
“We write on behalf of the thousands of women that we represent, to clarify once and for all, that this bill will not make bathrooms and locker rooms unsafe for women and we are not in fear of it,” the letter stated. “There is nothing in this legislation that facilitates indecent or unsafe behavior in bathrooms. The 2011 law explicitly prohibits people from asserting gender identity for any improper purpose.”
“The support from these organizations is significant because it demonstrates quite clearly that the arguments against passing this legislation are not based in fact,” said Carly Burton, Freedom Massachusetts Coalition campaign manager. “This legislation does not diminish the safety of women, children or anyone. In fact, it only strengthens our laws to protect our transgender family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.”
Fourteen Mayors and town leaders from across the Commonwealth – including Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll – have called on the legislation to be passed. Nearly 200 local businesses – including the region’s professional sports teams – have all voiced support for the legislation. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are also in support of the legislation.
State Representatives Byron Rushing and Denise Provost and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz are lead sponsors of the bill (House Bill 1577/Senate Bill 735).
For more information, visit www.freedommassachusetts.org.