Educators, Advocates, Youth & Families Applaud New Guidance for Implementing Transgender Non- Discrimination Law in Public Schools

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on Feb. 15 issued comprehensive guidelines that aim to ensure Massachusetts public schools comply with the new transgender non-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination against transgender students in all school programs and activities. The DESE guidelines were praised by an array of advocates, educators, families and youth.

“The guidelines offer practical, expert advice to ensure that transgender students have equal educational opportunities including the chance to learn in a safe, affirming environment,” said Jennifer Levi, director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project. “GLAD applauds DESE for issuing commonsense guidance and for taking leadership in ensuring schools’ compliance with the new law.”

“This very practical guidance answers the questions we hear over and over, giving schools, parents, and students a blueprint for implementing change,” said Deborah Peeples, board president of Greater Boston PFLAG and the parent of a transgender youth. “As primary advocates, parents and families need to know how we can expect schools to handle critical issues like proper name and pronoun usage, privacy, and access to both appropriate facilities and opportunities. It’s much easier to move forward when we’re all on the same page and working together. Kudos to the DESE.”

“Coming out as transgender in school is such a difficult process and being unable to be out and feel safe is detrimental to a person’s education,” said Carter Blake, a 23-year-old graduate of Dorchester High School who is transgender. “I think these guidelines, which will help schools make transgender students feel safe and respected at school, will make a real difference in the lives of transgender kids in school across our state, and that’s a good thing.”

“Research shows that transgender and gender non-conforming students suffer higher rates of verbal harassment, physical harassment, and physical assault in school. We also know that there is a lot of misunderstanding about transgender students and that some schools may not have the internal expertise to address all issues of concern as they arise,” said Gunner Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. “MTPC is grateful to DESE for issuing such practical guidance and identifying the steps that schools can take to create a safer and more welcoming environment for transgender youth in our Commonwealth’s schools.”

Among the areas that the guidelines address are:

  • The proper use of names and pronouns for transgender students
  • Privacy and confidentiality policies for transgender students
  • Appropriate names and gender markers on student records, including diplomas
  • Appropriate access to restrooms and locker rooms
  • Physical education and athletic participation
  • Education and training for teachers about transgender students

“Transgender students, like all students, need a school environment where they are treated fairly and respectfully so that they can focus on getting the education that they need and deserve,” said Grace Sterling Stowell, the executive director of Boston Alliance of GLBT Youth (BAGLY). “The DESE guidance gives our public schools the tools to create just that environment.”

“We commend the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the speedy release of guidance that spells out in no uncertain terms the protections assured to transgender and gender nonconforming students in Massachusetts,” said Julian Cyr, chair of the Mass. Commission for GLBT Youth. “Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, state agencies continue to close gaps in service delivery and education policy that persist for LGBT youth in the Commonwealth. This guidance is an important step toward leveling the playing field for transgender students.”

“This guidance from DESE is going to make an immediate difference in the lives of transgender students, who desperately need protection and leadership from our schools,” said Kara Suffredini, executive director of MassEquality. “We appreciate DESE’s role in making sure that transgender students across our Commonwealth have the same educational opportunities that all students in our public schools enjoy.”

“As a former high school teacher, I know the vast majority of educators are well-intentioned and want to create a climate of respect and safety so that all of their students can reach their full potential,” said Arthur Lipkin, who spent 20 years teaching in Cambridge’s school system. “As a long-serving member of the Mass. Commission for GLBT Youth, I also know that there is a learning curve on the part of many educators on transgender issues. The guidance gives them important tools to provide properly for the safety and educational needs of transgender students, and I commend DESE for its leadership in creating it. Of course, the results will depend on the resources made available to schools for technical assistance and training. We need to be vigilant and constructive.”

The Transgender Equal Rights Law, officially titled “An Act Relative to Gender Identity,” was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick in November 2011. It took effect in July 2012. The law prohibits discrimination against transgender people in the areas of employment, housing, credit, and education. It also amended the state’s definition of a hate crime to include crimes motivated by prejudice against a person’s gender identity.

You can read the guidelines here.


Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England’s leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.

Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is a 501(c)(3) that works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. 




MTPC at First Event Conference & Action Day

MTPC at First Event Conference!
Volunteers Needed!
Marriott Peabody, in Peabody, Massachusetts

What better way to start off the New Year than being with friends and people from the Trans community while at the same time building support of our organization by telling them about us. MTPC is looking for great people to staff an information table at First Event, Saturday, January 26th between 9am to 4pm. If you have an hour or two to spare we would be so happy if you spent it with us. We will be collecting legislator postcards for the An Act Relative to Equal Access in Hospitals, Public Transportation, Nursing Homes, Supermarkets, Retail Establishments, and all other places open to the public. 

Please email your contact information and time available to Alishia at

Massachusetts StatehouseAnd don’t forget about MTPC and the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition will be holding a Community Action Day at the Massachusetts State House on Thursday, January 17th at 11am in the Suite 167 conference room. All transgender people and our allies are encouraged to attend and meet with their legislators to ask for co-sponsorship for the Trans Equal Access Bill!

Please RSVP ( so we can look up your legislators prior to the event.


Gender Bender Drag Show: A Benefit for MTPC

gender bender showSaturday January 12
Doors 8 pm Gender Bender Drag Show: a benefit for MTPC
10 pm Second Saturday Dance Party 

Come early-stay late!

Machine will open early for a very special Gender Bender Drag Show featuring drag kings, drag queens and some high femme burlesque all to benefit the MA Trans Political Coalition (MTPC).  Performers include Queen of ceremonies Lakia, Celebrity Slam Poet from NYC Kit Yan, Montreal’s #1 Drag King Nat King Pole, Daddy K, Strawberry-Cream Pie, Professor Jack Dandy and more!!

Second Saturday dance party features resident DJ DENA, who will have you endlessly dancing to seamless dance mixes full of intense energy in the Machine. 

In the lounge:Two Trans Guys and an iPod. Tre’Andre and Gunner make up this DJ duo, each bringing a different spin to the dance floor. Tre’Andre hails from Trinidad & Tobago and brings that island flavor wherever he goes. Gunner is a social justice activist and culture maker. Their music influences include Pop, Hip Hop, Afro-pop, Alternative Dance, Electro Clash, 80’s New Wave, Beat, Funk, Brit-pop, Dance-punk, Techno, Disco House, Indie Pop, & Electrofunk.

With a gigantic dance floor, 4 pool tables, gravity defying pole dancers, 4 bars, state of the art lighting and sound system, over 800 people—what’s not to love.

Click Here for Advanced Tix

Machine Nightclub, 1254 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215, 21+, $15 for drag show and dance party/$10 for dance party only. 


MTPC Ranked #5 in GuideStar’s High-Impact Local LGBT Nonprofits

guide star largeIn December 2012, we were honored to learn that a group of 110 experts identified Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition as 1 of 12 high-impact nonprofits working in the field local LGBT equaity and support. Some of reviews experts had about our impact were:

“This is still a very small organization, but it has had good, consistent leadership. Also, the organization has done some very innovative public education work.

“Their impact can be see in the passage of the Transgender Rights Bill 2011.”

“They are playing a key role in adding gender identity to statewide nondiscrimination law. They are also developing the “I AM” messaging campaign to raise profile of transgender community.”

To read more about experts in the field have to say about Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition click on the Expert Reviews section on our organization profile

Philanthropedia (at GuideStar) is a nonprofit organization working to help donors make smarter donations by connecting them with some of the highest impact nonprofits in a cause. They are different from other online rating sites or donation sites because they use experts to identify high-impact nonprofits.

All the information collected from the research is available on Philanthropedia’s website and will shortly be available on GuideStar Take Action’s website.

In addition, MTPC’s big sister organization and our fiscal sponsor, Boston Alliance for GLBT Youth (BAGLY Inc) was ranked # 1 in the same category. As you can see the apple does not fall far from the tree! MTPC also wished to congratulate trans-sister organizations the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Transgender Law Center (TLC), and our Trans Equal Rights Coalition partner organizations Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and MassEquality for their recognition in high impact LGBT non-profits rankings as well.


Help MTPC Reach Our Goals Going Into 2013

Thank You

Thank you for suporting the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and trans youth, adults, and our families. It has been an exciting and hectic year with the Trans Equal Rights law going into effect July 1, 2012. MTPC staff and volunteers have been working with state agencies to get the new law enacted through policy changes, issuing guidance, and providing trainings. As you know, we still have work to do in gaining complete protections. Adding non-discrimination protections for trans people accessing public accommodations is one of our top priorities for 2013.

Our work is not over.

Some of MTPC’s goals for 2013 include:

  • Introducing a bill for non-discrimination in public accommodations for transgender youth, adults, and families in January 2013
  • Releasing MTPC’s Best Practices Guides, one for K-12 public schools and one for homeless services and shelters
  • Continue to assist trans youth, adults, and families in responding to discrimination, changing identity documents, and/or accessing services
  • Developing a public education campaign based on the experiences trans people face in accessing places like hospitals, retail stores, libraries, or restaurants
  • Developing and administering a health care access survey for trans youth, adults, and families
  • Developing and delivering trainings, policy recommendations, and best practices to health care instutions, service providers, and law enforcement
  • Expanding our outreach and programs for our trans people of color leadership committee, Kaleidoscope
  • Developing new initiatives through our Interfaith Committee for Transgender Equality
  • Providing training, support, and resources to our trans activists leaders network around the state

MTPC is always seeking to change the public’s perception about transgender and gender non-conforming youth and adults through effective public education campaigns, trainings, and community organizing, but we can’t do that without your help.

That is why I am asking you to donate today.

Your financial support means we can work toward reaching these goals in 2013 and we can continue to advocate effectively for our community members and bring the voices, issues, and experiences of trans youth, adults, and families to policy makers and the public.

Your tax-deductible gift to MTPC can be made securely online. Just click here to donate. If you prefer, you can send a check to: MTPC, PO Box 301897, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Thank you for your support, energy, inspiration, and dedication to transgender equality and the work of MTPC.


Gunner Scott
Executive Director

Take a look back at 2012:
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#Spirit Day: Stand Against Bullying

Support LGBT youth by wearing purple for #SpiritDay.

We hope you’re wearing purple! Each year on Spirit Day, millions of Americans wear purple to show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Check out for information on how you can use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to take a stand against bullying and stand up for LGBT youth. Be sure to take photos of yourself wearing purple and tag them #spiritday.

 Find out how to enter our contest to design the new MTPC logo. Also included: Transcending Boundaries Conference and Trans Awareness Week information. Check out the rest of MTPC’s Oct E-news online.