Call to Action: Ask Your Mass. Senators & Reps to Cosponsor Equal Access Bill

Demand equal access to public accomodations for transgender people in Massachusetts!

The cosponsorship deadline for the Equal Access Bill is February 1. So now is the time to make your voice heard! Contact your state senators and representatives TODAY and ask them to support the bill.

In November 2011, Massachusetts became the 16th state to add non-discrimination laws for gender identity in the areas of employment, housing, K-12 public education, and credit. Additionally, Massachusetts Hate Crimes laws were also updated to include gender identity. This law is known as the Act Relative to Gender Identity.

This new law did not include protections in public accommodations, though. Public accommodations include banks, gas stations, beauty salons, doctors’ offices, court rooms, hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, theaters, sports arenas, museums, libraries, zoos, beaches, public transit, airports, public streets, sidewalks, and many other places open to the public.

Here’s what YOU can do to ensure all transgender people in Massachusetts have equal rights to use public spaces free of any discrimination.

1) Locate your state officials.

2) Ask for your State Representative or Senator by name. Usually you end up speaking with a legislative aide. Introduce yourself as a constituent. Give your name and town. Tell them that passing the Equal Access Bill is VERY important to you. If they need more information, tell them the bill has been filed as House Docket #1172 and Senate Docket #568.

The Equal Access Bill would addgender identityto existing Massachusetts civil rights law for public accommodations, which currently prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex and marital status. Nationwide, 15 states, the District of Columbia and 187 cities and counties (including Boston, Cambridge, Amherst and Northampton) have passed non-discrimination laws or ordinances protecting people on this basis.

If you would like to follow a detailed script when calling, you can find that here.

3) Fill out our Report Results form to let us know how it went.

Another way that you can help is to talk up #MAtransbill online.

We’d love for you to post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., about why you are supporting the Equal Access Bill today. Why are public accommodations protections important to you? Use the hashtag #MAtransbill, and add #TransMA and #MApoli if there’s room. Here’s a sample tweet:

Stop discrimination in MA public accommodations based on gender-identity/expression. Call sens/reps 1/31! http://www.masstpc.org/take-action/contact-elected #MAtransbill

If you’d like more information, please check out these resources:

* 2013 Equal Access in Public Accommodations Legislative Brief (PDF)

What Are Public Accommodations? (PDF)

Consequences of Not Having Equal Access Protections in Public Accommodations (PDF)