Attorney General Maura Healey, Congressman Joe Kennedy Testify in Support of Transgender Anti-Discrimination Legislation
October 7, 2015

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Hundreds of supporters attend State House Hearing

Boston – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Congressman Joe Kennedy III, today joined with hundreds of supporters at a State House Hearing to voice their support for legislation that would provide explicit protections from discrimination in public places for transgender people in Massachusetts.

“No one should worry about being discriminated against for who they are when walking into a public library, a restaurant, or a bus station,” said Attorney General Healey. “Right now, Massachusetts fails to grant basic protections to transgender people. This bill is about the dignity and equality of all Massachusetts residents. Protecting the rights of all transgender people is a public safety issue, and it’s time for Massachusetts to join the 17 other states and 225 cities and towns across the country that already have similar protections in place.”

“Ordering a cup of coffee, catching a movie at the local theater, walking through the park with your family – these are simple moments that most of us take for granted. But for the transgender community, the ongoing threat of discrimination and prejudice can darken even the most ordinary of everyday experiences,” said Congressman Kennedy. “As a state that has proudly served on the front lines of this country’s fight for justice and equality, it’s time for us to lead and ensure every Bay Stater is afforded the protections our laws provide.”

State House Legislators heard from a variety of stakeholders – Republicans and Democrats, large and small business owners, health care providers, and first responders – who are supporting the legislation. Already, more than 150 businesses, trade associations, educational institutions and non-profit organizations that have voiced their support for the pending legislation.

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. Equal treatment in employment, housing, K-12 education and credit has been law since 2012. Last month, in a letter to members of the Massachusetts Legislature and Governor Charlie Baker, 12 mayors and town leaders from across the Commonwealth – including Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll – called on the legislation to be passed. Days later, the City of Lynn joined these 12 communities in adopting transgender nondiscrimination protections.

State Representatives Byron Rushing and Denise Provost and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz are lead sponsors of the bill (House Bill 1577/Senate Bill 735).

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Freedom Massachusetts is the bipartisan campaign working to ensure all people in the Commonwealth are treated fairly and equally under the law.

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