While NYC’s Mayor DeBlasio Leads on Transgender Rights, Massachusetts Falls Behind
March 7, 2016

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Today, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio issued an executive order clarifying that transgender people should have equal access to city facilities consistent with their gender identity—including locker rooms, offices, pools and recreation rooms—without needing to show identification or supposed proof of gender.

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In issuing the order, Mayor DeBlasio said:

“Access to bathrooms and other single-sex facilities is a fundamental human right that should not be restricted or denied to any individual. Every New Yorker should feel safe in our city — and this starts with our city’s buildings.”

Mayor DeBlasio’s executive order is just the latest indication of unprecedented progress for transgender rights across the country, while here in Massachusetts, legislation affording full protections to transgender people in public spaces is stalled in committee.

HB 1577/SB 735 would prohibit gender identity discrimination in public spaces like restaurants, hotels and gyms. For transgender people, these critical protections would ensure they could live without constant fear of discrimination—but despite majority support for this civil rights legislation across the state, it remains stalled in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary after a public hearing held last fall.

Our campaign manager Carly Burton thanked Mayor DeBlasio and called on Massachusetts lawmakers to step up to the plate too:

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio’s leadership and call on lawmakers here in Massachusetts to follow suit. Hundreds of cities and 18 other states across the nation have already put these protections in place. Massachusetts should uphold its reputation as a leader on equality and ensure that all people, including those who are transgender, can live their daily lives without fear of discrimination simply because of who they are.”

Though HB 1577/SB735 include protections for all public spaces, not just restrooms and locker rooms, there’s no doubt that the unfounded fears of bathroom access for transgender Bay Staters has been a rallying point for our opposition and a key reason the bill is stalled.

It’s time for Massachusetts lawmakers to affirm that everyone, including transgender people are treated fairly and equally under all aspects of the law. Click here to tell your lawmakers that it’s time to pass HB 1577/ SB 735.

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