MTPC Announces New Steering Committee Chair, Maxwell Ng

Press Release: July 17, 2014

Contact: Mason J. Dunn, Executive Director 617-755-7852 MasonDunn@masstpc.org

BOSTON, MA – The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) today announced the election of Maxwell Ng as the new Steering Committee Chair.

Maxwell Ng, MTPC Steering Committee Chair

Maxwell Ng is a graduate of Boston University, and has lived in the area for almost 20 years.  Besides his work with MTPC, he also serves on the Steering Committee for QAPA (Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance), and is a founding member of the Trailblazers, the Boston based softball team for trans and gender variant people.  He is passionate about visibility for Queer Asians, and strives to bring the complex issues that impact our enriched and intersecting communities to the forefront.

Nancy Nangeroni, MTPC’s out-going Steering Committee Chair, remains on the steering committee, serving as Chair Emeritus. “I’m pleased and honored to remain a part of this important and effective organization,” said Nangeroni, “and I’m excited to see Maxwell take on this new role which truly reflects the energy he is already bringing to MTPC.”

“I’m humbled to serve as Chair of the MTPC Steering Committee,” said Ng. “The work that this organization does has been empowering and challenging, and I am excited to further serve in this capacity.”

Prior to this position, Ng served as the Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee. He has been involved in the Fundraising, and Events sub committees as well as previously the Kaleidoscope group.

Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC educates the public; advocates with state, local, and federal government; engages in activism; and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC is a member of the Trans Advocacy Network, the Equality Federation, and the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition.

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Governor Announces Changes in Health Insurance Access for Transgender Community

[MassEquality Press Release]
BOSTON ─ June 20 ─ Today, Governor Patrick announced several new changes providing non-discrimination protections for those seeking gender therapy services.

MassHealth, the state-subsidized health insurance provider, will soon cover gender affirmation surgery and other treatment for gender dysphoria.  Additionally, the MA Department of Insurance (DOI) issued regulatory guidance advising health insurers that they may not discriminate on the basis of gender identity in denial of services. The administration also shared that they would be encouraging the Group Insurance Commission to take similar steps in ensuring equal access to gender therapy services.

“This is a monumental step forward for the LGBT community in the Commonwealth. We applaud Governor Patrick’s leadership in ensuring that transgender people receive the medically-necessary services they need to lead healthy, productive lives.  We look forward to working with the administration on the implementation of these changes,” said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini.

“Governor Patrick has once again illustrated his forward-looking and compassionate leadership in implementing these policies. As transgender rights become more visible across this country, Massachusetts will continue its tradition of being the beacon of light that so many other states can look to for guidance on equality,” said Mason Dunn, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.

Following on the heels of the Boston City Council’s recent unanimous decision on June 11 to not contract with any health insurer that does not provide gender therapy services, the Commonwealth’s decision will have an even broader impact, allowing transgender people across the state to access mental health care, hormone therapy, and other transition-related care.

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care For All, states, “This is an immensely important step forward in ensuring that health coverage meets an individual’s full range of health care needs. We commend the Administration for again putting Massachusetts in the vanguard among states as a leader in health equity for everyone, and providing a model other states can use to improve access to care for all residents.”

Massachusetts will be the sixth state to enact non-discrimination policies regarding gender transition-related care. Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont and California have amended their state policies regarding health insurance provision for gender therapy services.

“As a national organization that advocates for LGBT health equity across the country, we are proud our home state of Massachusetts is leading the way in ensuring everyone has access to the health care services they need. This victory would not have been possible without strong advocacy at the state level and the committed partners working to secure these new benefits for transgender people,” said Susan Sherry, deputy director of Community Catalyst.

Contact: Michael Givens
Communications Manager, MassEquality
857-244-0218 (m)
617-878-2316 (o)
mike@massequality.org
Twitter: @massequality
Facebook: facebook.com/MassEquality

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Boston City Council Votes Unanimously in Support of Gender Therapy Access Ordinance for Transgender Municipal Workers

[MassEquality press release]

BOSTON ─ June 11 ─ Today, the Boston City Council, by a unanimous vote, passed an ordinance ensuring that the City does not contract with any health insurance provider that does not provide comprehensive coverage for gender therapy services, including mental health care, hormone therapy, and other transition-related care for transgender City employees.

“This is a modest proposal that will have a profound impact on the lives of transgender municipal workers,” said Kara Coredini, executive director of MassEquality. “We applaud Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu for introducing the ordinance and the Council members who co-sponsored it and voted to pass it. Their action today is an important next step in Boston’s continuing leadership on transgender equality, and we hope that the state will soon follow Boston’s lead as it has so many times on issues of LGBTQ equality.”

Introduced by City Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu in mid-April, the ordinance received the support of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and the city’s Public Employees Committee, which recently voted to ensure that the city’s insurance plans to accommodate increased access to gender therapy services for Boston employees. Though the ordinance passed unanimously, this is a very small step in ensuring that all transgender people in the state are provided comprehensive insurance coverage. Currently, there are 17,000 Boston municipal workers whose insurance coverage will be impacted by this change.

“I am thrilled that the City of Boston is setting the standard for an inclusive workplace with policies to attract the most talented and committed employees,” said Wu.  “Inclusive health care coverage is the right thing to do for our employees and their families, and the best economic policy. I am proud that my colleagues on the Council and our Mayor support this important ordinance so strongly, and so grateful to MassEquality and the many partner organizations who testified in support. I am honored to be a part of this step towards ensuring Boston remains the best place to live, work and play.”

The language of the ordinance prevents the City from contracting with health insurers who refuse to provide coverage for transition-related care. One insurer, Neighborhood Health Plan, did not have a rider in its coverage for transition-related care, but will add one to its coverage that allows for gender therapy services. The other plans already covered these services for municipal employees.

“I thank MassEquality for being a leader and a partner in the ongoing fight for justice for our trans neighbors,” Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley said. “Access to quality health care is a civil rights issue. This ordinance will dramatically improve the lives of our City’s trans employees and their families; restoring their dignity and alleviating the cost of medically necessary care.”

According to research done by the Center for American Progress, the cost of providing healthcare coverage for transgender municipal workers is expected to be negligible. Studies have shown that the more than 200 private companies across the country that provide coverage for gender therapy services reported insignificant changes in healthcare costs.

“We are so proud to be part of a city that’s taking significant steps to remove the barriers to health care for all people,” said Susan Sherry, Deputy Director of Community Catalyst, a Boston-based national consumer health advocacy organization. “The Council’s overwhelming support for this policy change that benefits transgender employees sends a strong message to Boston and all Massachusetts residents, and promotes our city as a national leader on health equity issues.”

Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont and California have also amended their state policies to ensure that health insurers do not discriminate against transgender individuals.

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care For All, states, “This is an important step forward in ensuring that health coverage meets an individual’s full range of health care needs. We commend the City Council for providing a model state policymakers can use to improve access to care for all residents.”

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MTPC Responds to the Appeal of Transgender Prisoner Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mason Dunn
Executive Director
617-778-0519

Boston, MA – The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is disappointed to learn that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections will appeal the recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision concerning Michelle Kosilek’s access to medically necessary gender reassignment surgery while in prison.

“This is a matter of not only transgender rights, but Constitutional rights as well,” said Mason Dunn, Executive Director of MTPC. “No prisoner should be denied access to medically necessary treatment on the basis of their gender identity.”

This will be the state’s second appeal in this matter. A three judge panel with First Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision earlier this month affirming that Michelle has a right to access medically necessary care while in prison. The DOC now appeals to the full First Circuit court.

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The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.

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“Shelter for all Genders” Report Released

Shelter imageThe Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), is pleased to announce the release of “Shelter for All Genders: Best Practices for Homeless Shelters, Services and Programs in Massachusetts in Serving Transgender Adults and Gender Non-Conforming Guests.” This guide provides recommendations to agencies working with transgender and gender nonconforming persons in emergency and transitional shelters or services throughout the Commonwealth.

“Transgender and gender non-conforming people experience overwhelming levels of harassment and discrimination in shelters,” said Mason Dunn, MTPC’s executive director. “This guide aims to give shelters and programs the tools they need to become inclusive spaces for transgender individuals.”

In 2011 the Massachusetts legislature passed “An Act Relative to Gender Identity,” which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, education, credit/lending and housing. The recommendations contained in this new guide offer shelters suggestions for how to conform to the 2011 law, with respect to housing.

“Studies show that nearly 20% of transgender people experience homelessness at some point in their lives due to transgender-related discrimination,” said Nancy Nangeroni, chair of the MTPC Steering Committee. “Shelters and services should take steps to ensure they conform to the housing nondiscrimination laws, and support the integrity of all people.”

Along with this guide, MTPC is launching a story share initiative, to collect information about current shelter conditions experienced by transgender people in Massachusetts.

Click here to read the report and learn more about the story share initiative.

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MTPC & Fenway Health launch trans* needs assessment

ProjectVOICE-1000x550

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and Fenway Health have collaborated on a needs assessment to gather information about the health and well-being of Massachusetts’s transgender and gender-nonconforming adults, a population that has long been underserved. The 20-minute survey, entitled Project VOICE: Voicing Our Individual and Community Experiences, is available online and will be administered in-person at community organizations throughout Massachusetts this fall.

Funded by the Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation, the needs assessment is an effort by MTPC and Fenway Health to assess the experiences of transgender and gender conforming residents of Massachusetts in the wake of the passage of H. 810, an “Act Relative to Gender Identity,” which legally took effect on July 1, 2012. Also known as the Transgender Equal Rights Law, the law protects Massachusetts residents against gender identity discrimination in housing, credit, education and employment. While the passage of the Transgender Equal Rights Law was a huge coup for transgender and gender-nonconforming residents of Massachusetts and MTPC, who spearheaded the historic act, the bill failed to extend protections in public accommodations for gender identity. Now, a year after the legislation took effect, MTPC and Fenway Health have teamed up to examine the social stressors influencing health–including discrimination–among transgender and gender-nonconforming people in Massachusetts.

Offered in both English and Spanish, the 20-minute survey is expected to yield robust data that can be used to inform programs and policies that help to create better opportunities, address stressors such as discrimination, and improve the health and wellbeing of transgender and gender nonconforming people across Massachusetts. Dr. Sari Reisner, Research Scientist at The Fenway Institute, says: “Project Voice is an exciting opportunity to work with and engage trans communities in Massachusetts. It is a chance to understand more about the health, well-being, and past and current experiences of stress that we as trans and gender-nonconforming people face. Information from the project will help ensure public health efforts are grounded in the lived realities and needs of our community.”

To participate and/or learn more about the survey, please visit: thefenwayinstitute.org/research/voice.

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For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population.  The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless or living on the streets; struggling with substance use or abuse; sex workers; or living with HIV/AIDS.

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 educates the public; advocates with state, local, and federal government; engages in activism; and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC is a member of the Trans Advocacy Network, the Equality Federation, and the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition.

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