Victory: Massachusetts Becomes the First State in The Country to Uphold Transgender Protections
November 7, 2018

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We did it: Dignity and respect for our transgender friends and neighbors remains the law in our Commonwealth!

We may not know the final margin until tomorrow, but right now Yes on Question 3 is leading—a powerful, unmistakable message from Massachusetts voters that we value our transgender friends and neighbors, and want everyone to feel safe and welcome here.

The voters said something else too, to the entire nation: We will not let the forces of discrimination use fear and lies to turn us against our neighbors. Because of the team we built, we can say tonight that Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to uphold protections for transgender people at the ballot box! 

That team included 70 paid employees, 1,500 local coalition partners and more than 4,000 volunteers who filled more than 15,000 volunteer shifts. Collectively, Yes on 3 staff and volunteers knocked on more than 300,000 doors and made more than 2 million phone calls, resulting in more than 100,000 conversations with voters across Massachusetts.

The campaign also raised more than $5 million from a wide range of people and organizations, including more than $1 million from the local business community. About 90 percent of donors were from in-state.

We deployed a groundbreaking ad strategy included a first-of-its-kind focus on the lives of transgender young people impacted by nondiscrimination protections as well public safety experts who debunked myths about restrooms.

Leading the campaign was an executive committee—half of whom are transgender people, including the two campaign co-chairs Kasey Suffredini and Mason Dunn—representing a number of local and national LGBTQ advocacy organizations including: ACLU Massachusetts, BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Youth), Fenway Health, Freedom for All Americans, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, Greater Boston PFLAG, Human Rights Campaign, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and MassEquality.

“Massachusetts made history tonight, both for our transgender neighbors who call this state home and for transgender people across this nation. From the very early days of our campaign, we have been clear that this is about dignity and respect for all people. Together, we have shattered broken stereotypes of what it means to be transgender and debunked the myth—once and for all—that protecting transgender people compromises the safety of others. Winning this popular vote is irrefutable proof that public support for transgender people is growing, and tonight’s outcome will provide the necessary momentum to change the landscape on transgender rights everywhere.” —Kasey Suffredini, Yes on 3 Campaign co-chair and President of Strategy at Freedom for All Americans.

When opponents of transgender equality forced this law onto the ballot mere days after it became law in 2016, we knew we’d have a tough fight ahead. It was exhilarating to win something that everyone should have—basic protections under the law—but painful to so quickly face the prospect of having them stripped away by a vocal minority relying on fear and stereotypes.

We knew it would be toughest for our transgender community. They pushed through the fear and doubt, and we won tonight primarily because of the courage and sacrifice of the transgender community: Those who took the risk of being public and having conversations with voters about what it means to be transgender and those who worked just as hard behind the scenes.

“Voters here in Massachusetts have sent a powerful, unmistakable message that this is a state that values, welcomes, and honors transgender people. We could not have been successful without the transgender people and their families who stepped forward and courageously shared their stories, as well as the countless others who worked behind the scenes and propelled us forward. This campaign also allowed us to engage thousands of new allies who are ready to stand with us in the work that remains for full transgender equality here in Massachusetts and across America.” —Mason Dunn, Yes on 3 Campaign co-chair and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.

In the end, we broke through the fear-mongering and voters saw the truth: Thousands of people, from diverse communities and backgrounds, who simply want what everyone else wants—to be treated with dignity and respect.

Transgender people were the core of this campaign, and they had standing shoulder to shoulder with them a massive team of staff, volunteers and more than 1,500 coalition partners: law enforcement, sexual assault prevention advocates, businesses large and small, labor unions, faith leaders, educators, and professional sports teams—including the reining World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.

We turned the tide against discrimination—and we can’t wait to see the ripple effects.

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