Boston — Yesterday Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Senator Sonia Chang-DIaz, the lead Senate sponsor of SB 735, hosted a roundtable discussion for legislators and the media about the importance of the transgender protections bill pending in the legislature. They were joined by state attorney general Maura Healey and transgender residents and their loved ones.
Carly Burton, campaign manager of Freedom Massachusetts, said “Sharing the personal stories of transgender people and their loved ones is how we change hearts and minds and move closer to a place of fairness and equality for all people. We are grateful to Senate President Rosenberg for his leadership in providing the opportunity for transgender community members to share their stories. We also applaud the Senate President for determining a date for debate on this bill. We urge Speaker DeLeo to work with the Senate President to act quickly to send this bill to Governor Baker’s desk. It has been nearly 10 years since these protections were first introduced on Beacon Hill, and transgender people have waited long enough.”
The event was moderated by WRKO/Boston.com morning radio host Kim Carrigan and also included the following participants:
- Alishia Ouellette—Transgender Veteran, Retired Firefighter
- Chastity Bowick—Transgender Worcester Resident, former hospital employee
- Taj Smith—Transgender man with faith community background
- Schuyler Bailar—Transgender swimmer on Harvard swim team
- Jeanne Talbot—Mother of transgender daughter
- Nina Liang—Quincy City Councilor with transgender sister
“As a transgender woman, the public accommodations bill is about me and people like me,” said Chastity Bowick, a transgender woman from Worcester. “I have been denied services in Massachusetts because I am transgender, and I live my life in fear of discrimination. Knowing that Massachusetts fully protects me from being turned away at a public place against because of who I am would have a direct, positive impact on my my life and make me feel safer and more welcome in the state I call home. Making the transgender protections bill law would show that Massachusetts has my back.”
“It’s only when you meet someone who is transgender and hear their story that you begin to understand the path each individual has walked in order to live authentically,” said Jeanne Talbot, mother of a 14-year old transgender daughter, Nicole. “But it’s when you look into their eyes that you understand that their rights must be the same as every other Massachusetts resident because equal rights should have no exception. Today’s event served a great purpose in sharing the stories of many transgender people and allowing our legislators to look into the eyes of those this legislation will ultimately protect.”
Senate President Rosenberg and Speaker DeLeo both publicly endorsed the bill last year. Also yesterday afternoon, Senate President Rosenberg announced that May 12 is tentatively scheduled as the day the Senate will bring the bill to a debate.