Massachusetts Legislators File Nondiscrimination Bill!

Last Friday Representatives Denise Provost and Byron Rushing, and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz filed legislation to fill the gap of the current statewide nondiscrimination laws pertaining to gender identity and expression in public accommodations in Massachusetts. This is a very exciting time for MTPC, and we’re thrilled to bring you up to date on this important action.

As you may know, last month Governor Charlie Baker spoke out against this legislation – but we won’t let that get us down. We’re working hard to bring in support in the statehouse and from the community.

Just a few days ago, the Boston Globe published a wonderful editorial about the importance of public accommodations protections for the transgender community. The editorial urges legislators and the Governor to fill the gap and pass nondiscrimination legislation.

But there is so much more work to be done. Already we are planning phone banks, lobby days, and looking for interns and volunteers to help with this work. Will you join us? Here’s how:

  • Click here to sign up for updates about upcoming phone banks, lobby days, or volunteer opportunities.
  • Are you going to First Event this week? Join us Thursday at noon for exclusive updates and training to get even more involved. We’ll work with you to craft stories to impact change, speak about the details of the legislation, and take your questions about the work ahead.
  • Click here to learn more about the legislation, public accommodations, and the state law.

If you have questions, or want to get involved in other ways, please email us at info@masstpc.org.

And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on what’s happening.

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Giving Tuesday

Every year at this time we hear about “Black Friday,” “Small Business Saturday,” and “Cyber Monday,” days where people flock to stores and websites for amazing deals. This year, I hope you’ll consider a different kind of event: Giving Tuesday.

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Today is a day to support the organizations and non-profits that are doing work that you think is important. Organizations like MTPC need your help today to kick off the giving season. You can help us meet our year-end fundraising goals and help us continue this important work.

In honor of Giving Tuesday, I hope you will invest in the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. Our dedicated team of almost entirely volunteer workers is doing critical work to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in Massachusetts and to support trans and gender non-conforming folks in our community.

Your donation will allow MTPC to host community events, lobby for trans-inclusive laws and policies, and provide vital resources for trans people across the state. In order to do all this, and more, MTPC needs you to be a part of the movement.

Will you join us by investing in the continued fight for trans rights in Massachusetts?

 

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MTPC stands in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown

Last night we witnessed Boston’s response to the grand jury ruling against indicting the police officer responsible for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. There were over a thousand people who took to the streets to push back against the dehumanizing tragedy that took place in Ferguson.

 

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition stands in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and all those using their voice to push back on the violence, bias, and systemic oppression which has been so clearly portrayed in the recent events. This cannot, and should not, be ignored.

 

As an organization whose leadership is predominantly white, we recognize the great importance of using our racial privilege to push back on systems of oppression. We stand as an allied organization with all those organizing in Boston, Ferguson, and across the country. #BlackLivesMatter

 

We are committed to engaging with communities of color in active listening and support during this troubling time.

 

Black communities deserve justice, without the fear of violence or discrimination. Black communities deserve to be heard. Black communities deserve peace. Until these things can be guaranteed, we will continue to use our voice to push back against this discriminatory system.

 

To all communities striving for justice around the country, stay safe, and stay strong.

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Trans Awareness Month Meets NanoWriMo

November is Transgender Awareness Month (#TransMonth). It’s also National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo), when people challenge themselves to write a novel during the month of November. It can be about anything and doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. The idea is that so many of us have stories we want to write but never have the time. So this challenge provides support and networking and motivates people to stop putting it off or worrying about it being perfect and just write–without self-censoring or editing–as much as they possibly can in 30 days.

Stories are powerful things, but especially so for young people. Young people are surrounded by stories, whether it’s bedtime stories, cartoons, movies, books, school lessons, or the news. And one of the most wonderful, exciting, and powerful things for readers of any age, but especially youth, is to see a story about someone like them. Having a character that looks like you, talks like you, thinks like you, or identifies like you can make a huge difference in the lives of young readers. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of diversity in mainstream stories, especially not books for children and young adults. This is especially true if you’re looking for queer or trans characters. It is so vitally important that we make room for this diversity in stories for youth, both in media like NaNoWriMo stories and in mainstream media. So if you’ve got a story, tell it! There are people out there who would love to hear it!

To celebrate the intersection of Writing and Trans Awareness, here is a sample of some young adult and children’s books that already exist and have awesome trans and queer characters! Check them out!Brooklyn

  1. Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

A love story that takes place over the course of a summer between two marginally housed Brooklyn teens, Scout and Kid. Their genders are never revealed.

  1. EmilyBeing Emily by Rachel Gold

When Emily, who was assigned male at birth, tells her parents about her desire to live as a woman, they send her into therapy, convinced she is ill. She is able to rely on her girlfriend and a few others in her life to help her through her family issues.

  1. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills Music

Gabe, who was assigned female at birth, hosts a popular weekly radio show called “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.” He is not out at school, where he is still using his given name, Elizabeth. When someone discovers his secret, Gabe must figure out how to live an honest life and still stay safe.

  1. if-you-believeIf You Believe in Mermaids, Don’t Tell by A.A. Phillips

Todd knows he can never tell his family the truth: that he wants to be a mermaid, that he loves to play dress up, and that he doesn’t want to follow in his dad’s footsteps as an athlete. But when he goes to a summer science camp, he meets a girl who might help him learn to love who he truly is.

  1. London Reign by A.C. Britt london

London is one of Boston’s toughest boys, who was actually assigned female at birth. London must deal with his abusive stepfather, as well as a whole host of other issues that come with living in the inner city.

For more great youth books with trans and queer characters, check out the list at the link below!

http://www.yalsa.ala.org/yals/trans-titles-for-young-adults-summer-2013/

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Trans Day of Remembrance: 2014

Today, as we honor the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we wanted to take this opportunity to lift up the voices of others who have contributed to the movement through blogs, editorials, and other writings:

TDOR 2014 – Who We’re Remembering by Monica Roberts

“Let us continue to work for and pray for a time in which trans human rights will be an unchallenged reality and a time in which the Transgender Day of Remembrance events are no longer necessary.   But until that day comes, let us remember our sisters who were killed because someone hated them enough to do so. “ The blog also includes a link to the list of names we honor and remember today.

Quiet Reflections: Why I Chose Silence on Trans Day of Remembrance by Janet Mock

Very powerful perspective (from 2013) on the importance of supporting trans women of color throughout the year: “Often times, it seems we, poor-raised trans women of color, are more valued by this movement in death than we are in life.”

Everyday People by Kylar Broadus

Trans People of Color Coalition founder Kylar Broadus speaks about the need for equality and communities working together to combat root problems leading to discrimination against trans people of color.

Marking the Day of Reflection by Maxwell Ng

Maxwell, who is chair of MTPC and on the Steering Committee for QAPA, reflects on his own experience with TDoR, and the losses we face this year.

Marking the Day of Uplift by Janani Bala

Highlighting the importance of trans justice work in immigration, prison reform, and much more. “We can’t continue to view trans justice as only a matter of honoring our dead, however. How can we support trans activists who are doing the constant work of manifesting gender justice now?”

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Those We’ve Lost in 2014 by Mitch Kellaway

This article lists the names and photos of those we have lost this year. Read these names, remember their faces and stories, not just today, but throughout the year.

Reflecting on 15 years of TDoR by Nancy Nangeroni

A recap from the 2013 TDoR, looking back on how things have changed.

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Summer 2014 Recap

We have seen some amazing progress over the summer for MTPC and trans rights in Massachusetts, and we’re preparing for a busy fall. In case you missed the news of the summer, here is a recap of what we’ve been up to and the progress we’ve made for trans rights across the state:

State Bill and Local Ordinances

While the Equal Access Bill to add public accommodations protections to the state nondiscrimination law was not pNewtonassed this year, we haven’t been quiet on policy matters. MTPC and our coalition partners have been working statewide to pass local nondiscrimination ordinances that are inclusive of public accommodations.  So far we have doubled the number of trans-inclusive local nondiscrimination ordinances, with more to come.

Salem, Brookline, Somerville, Worcester, and Newton all passed nondiscrimination ordinances this past summer. They join Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Amherst in leading fairness in our state. More cities and towns are expected to follow in the coming months, so stay tuned to hear more. If you live in a city or town that does not have a local ordinance, or if you’re not sure and want to learn more, please contact Mason to learn how you can help the movement in your city or town.

MTPC and our coalition partners are also making plans to continue the fight for public accommodations protections on the state level during the next legislative session.  We plan to host a statewide Lobby Day in 2015, along with other events and opportunities for you to get involved. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on our events and activities.

#WeAreMTPC 

#WeAreMTPC

#WeAreMTPC

This June, MTPC unveiled a new campaign to showcase our greatest asset: YOU! Hundreds of you took photos with us, showing how MTPC is all about the many faces, experiences, and perspectives embodied by our community.

Want to show your MTPC Pride beyond social media? Check out our new button packs. For $3 you get two buttons: one for you, and one for a friend or family member! To get your buttons and find out more, email info@masstpc.org.

Project VOICE

Thanks to the input from all those who participated in the Project VOICE survey. MTPC, in partnership with Fenway Health, was able to collect vital information about the health and wellness of the Massachusetts trans community.  The survey results show an alarming relationship between discrimination and overall health of community members. To read the report and learn more about Project VOICE, click here.

CAT MAGIC Returns

MTPC hosted our second CAT MAGIC event in July. The celebration was an amazing opportunity to bring community members together for feline-themed fun and fancy. This time, thanks to the talented Shannon Iggy,we were able to capture some of the fun on film. Check out the photos here, and be sure to tag yourself and friends!

CAT MAGIC started as a community night, focused on celebration of the trans community and our allies … and, naturally, cats. It continues to grow as an opportunity to feature trans artists and performers, celebrate being trans, and come together as a community. Plans are in the works for the next CAT MAGIC event, so stay tuned!

Health Insurance Progress

This year has seen unprecedented progress for trans people’s access to appropriate health care.  On June 20, Governor Deval Patrick announced reforms to health coverage policies to ensure that transgender Massachusetts residents have full access to treatments they need.  On the same day, the state Division of Insurance issued a bulletin that bars private health insurers from excluding medically necessary care for gender dysphoria from private health insurance plans.

There remain several questions about how this will be enacted, and when. MTPC, along with our coalition partners, are working with the Division of Insurance and private insurers to ensure that these new policies are enacted. We’ve also released this FAQ about the insurance bulletins.

Looking Forward

We’re seeing progress on many big issues that affect trans MA residents. But much remains to be done. Be sure to follow MTPC on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date. If you have questions, or want to get involved, email us at info@masstpc.org or call 617-778-0519.

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