New England’s Professional Sports Teams Announce Support for Transgender Protections
January 11, 2016

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Contact: Matthew Wilder
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Advertising giant Hill Holliday also in support of legislation

BOSTON – New England’s professional sports teams along with a nationally recognized advertising firm today announced their support for legislation currently before the state legislature that would provide explicit protections from discrimination in public places for transgender people in Massachusetts. The New England Patriots, New England Revolution, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and TD Garden join the Boston Red Sox which announced its support of the bill in November. Also today, advertising giant Hill Holliday joined in making their support known. In all, nearly 200 businesses and organizations across Massachusetts now stand in support of the legislation.

“The ever expanding support of these major business and cultural institutions signals how mainstream and widely accepted the need for this critical legislation has become,” said Kasey Suffredini, Co-Chair of the Freedom Massachusetts Coalition. “Nearly 200 local businesses now agree, there is no place in our great Commonwealth for discrimination, and our legislature must act now to make that aspiration a reality..”

“We have worked hard since the legislature broke for recess in November to keep our momentum toward our goal strong,”said Mason Dunn, Co-Chair of the Freedom Massachusetts Coalition. “Today’s announcement shows that the calls to pass this legislation have not gone quiet and that the time for action is now.”

The Freedom Massachusetts Coalition also announced today that Carly Burton, a longtime political organizer, has been appointed to the role of campaign manager for the coalition. Burton helped lead the successful campaign in 2010 to pass statewide transgender discrimination protections as well as successful efforts to pass statewide LGBT anti-bullying protections and the nation’s first statewide commissions to address issues facing homeless LGBT youth and LGBT elders. In the role of Campaign Manager, Burton will oversee and manage the lobbying, communications, field and coalition work.

“I believe that no one should be discriminated against because of who they are, no matter what,” said Burton. “That is not what the Commonwealth stands for, nor is it what this country stands for. As a mother, I want my child to live in a state where she can be free to be who she is, regardless of her gender identity. This is not possible right now in Massachusetts. I want to change that.”

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. 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.

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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