Janice Josephine was born and raised in Massachusetts, and has lived in the state for most of her life.
She is an Army veteran, who served overseas in Vietnam, and a proud parent of three adult children—whom she’s hoping will make her a grandparent someday soon. Janice is like a lot of people in Massachusetts, enjoying her retirement while also working part-time.
Janice is also transgender and has been living as her true self for more than fifteen years. And now, with the 2016 passage of #TransLawMA, Janice has the right to express her true identity and be protected from discrimination in public places like restaurants, parks and public transportation.
Still, the thought that she might face discrimination is never far from her mind, and if opponents of transgender equality succeed in repealing #TransLawMA at the ballot box this November, she’ll no longer have the law on her side.
“I have been able to update my birth certificate, my driver’s license, even my military ID to have the right information on it; and my name is legally changed. But, I still have this feeling, this fear, that something could happen,” she said, “Even after all these years.”
That’s because, unfortunately for Janice and many other transgender Bay Staters, discrimination is something she has faced firsthand.
A prospective employer flatly told Janice that she wouldn’t be hired because of her gender identity. And while employment discrimination is now prohibited in Massachusetts, Janice has also experienced harassment and discrimination in public places—including being chased and threatened by a stranger in a supermarket.
At that time there were no explicit statewide protections for transgender people who experienced discrimination in public places like restaurants. But now, because of #TransLawMA, that’s no longer the case, and it’s made Janice more secure than ever in her decision to move back to Massachusetts from Florida—where there are no explicit statewide protections of any kind against discrimination for transgender people.
“I had a very strong sense, and was seeing in the news, that Massachusetts was continuing to move forward on nondiscrimination protections. The work wasn’t done, but at least the state was headed in the right direction,” she said.
And while the law has passed, work still remains. Janice is doing what she can to protect #TransLawMA at the ballot box this November, when voters will decide whether or not to keep the nondiscrimination law in place.
“No one should have to live in fear,” she said, “And I want to keep working until no one has to.”
We agree, no one should have to live in fear of being discriminated against for who they are. Thanks to #TransLawMA, transgender people no longer have to. We simply can’t afford to have these critical protections repealed. If you agree, add your name to our pledge to protect #TransLawMA!