Cape Air, Harvard University, Twitter, John Hancock Financial and the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association Among Latest to Announce Support for Transgender Anti-Discrimination Legislation
October 16, 2015

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Leading businesses join more than 160 organizations in support

BOSTON – Several prominent Massachusetts-based businesses, Harvard University and the statewide association of parents and teachers announced their support today for legislation gaining momentum on Beacon Hill that would provide explicit protections from discrimination in public places for transgender people in Massachusetts. Cape Air, Harvard University, Twitter, John Hancock Financial, and the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association join more than 160 other businesses, trade associations, educational institutions and non-profit organizations that have voiced their support for the pending legislation. Last week, Massachusetts Attorney General and Congressman Joe Kennedy testified in support of the legislation at a State House Hearing.

“In 1996, Cape Air became the first airline in the nation to offer same sex health benefits,” said Linda Markham, President and CAO of Cape Air. “It is in this spirit of fundamental fairness that Cape Air supports the transgender accommodation bills (SB 735 and HB 1577) before the Massachusetts state legislature.”

“Harvard University is committed to ensuring that all members of its community, including those who identify as transgender, are afforded equal treatment. This is why gender identity has been included in Harvard’s nondiscrimination policy since 2006,” said Paul Andrew, Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications at Harvard University. “As an educational institution and employer, we have taken great care to ensure that operational steps and internal procedures allow all members of the Harvard community to learn and work at a campus that fosters equality and inclusion. Recognizing that transgender members of our community do not necessarily benefit from these same accommodations outside of Harvard’s campus, we support the pending legislative effort to provide similar protections across the Commonwealth.”

“Twitter is proud to stand with Freedom Massachusetts in supporting freedom and equality for all,” said Colin Crowell, Twitter, Inc., Vice President of Global Policy. “As a service based on the ideals of free expression, we believe it is essential to ensure that nobody is denied services based on who they are. Twitter values diversity and we want our employees to be able to live and work in an environment free from discrimination and exclusion.”

“We are proud to lend our support to this important effort,” said Craig Bromley, President, John Hancock Financial. “John Hancock recognizes the importance of this issue in advancing the protections for all people and its work in providing a more clear rejection of discrimination for everyone in Massachusetts.”

Additionally, it was also announced today that EMC Corporation, JP Licks, Legal Sea Foods, Barking Crab restaurant, Mass College of Art, Rosie’s Place and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay are also supporting the bill.

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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