updated 02-14-2014

State and Local Laws

State Laws

An Act Relative to Gender Identity

In November of 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 An Act Relative to Gender Identity.

The Definition of Gender Identity

“Gender identity” shall mean a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth. Gender-related identity may be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, as part of a person’s core identity; provided however, gender-related identity shall not be asserted for any improper purpose.

This new legislation did not extend protections in public accommodations. Therefore, legislation will need to filed in order to amend this section of the non-discrimination laws. MTPC, along with our LGBT and allied partners, plan to file and launch a campaign for public accommodations protection in 2013, the next legislative session in Massachusetts.

Today, 16 states, Washington D.C., and over 140 counties and cities have passed legislation to ban this discrimination in their communities — including Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Amherst, and now state wide in Massachusetts.

About the New Law

This legislation makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity in the areas of:

Public education credit/lending

It also amends the definition of hate crimes to include crimes motivated by prejudice against a person’s gender identity.

Current State Bills under Consideration

2013 An Act Relative to Equal Access in Hospitals, Public Transportation, Nursing Homes, Supermarkets, Retail Establishments, and all other places open to the public (House Docket 1172 and Senate Docket 568)

Other bills we support

2013 An Act to Provide Housing and Support Services to Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (House Bill 135)

2013 An Act Regulating Use of Credit Reports by Employers (House Bill 1744/Senate Bill 80)

2013 An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools (House Bill 454/Senate Bill 206)
This bill requires district bullying-prevention plans to include enumerated categories of students who are more vulnerable to bullying. It also requires stronger data collection by school districts of bullying incidents and school climate.

2013 An Act Relative to Abusive Practices to Change Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity in Minors(House Bill 154)

2013 An Act Relative to LGBT Awareness Training for Aging Service Providers (House Bill 547)

2013 An Act Relative to Safe Driving (House Bill 3285; would remove immigration status-based restrictions in eligibility for state driver’s licenses and learner’s permits)

State Executive Orders

Executive Order 526 Regarding Non-discrimination, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action

Executive Order 527 Establishing the Office of Access and Opportunity within the Executive Office of Administration and Finance

Local Ordinances

The following cities and towns in Massachusetts have local ordinances for non-discrimination on the basis of Gender Identity or Gender Expression:

Cambridge, MA (1997)

Contact the Cambridge Human Rights Commission to file a complaint or for further information.

Boston, MA (2002)

Contact the Mayor’s 24 Hour Help Line: 617-635-4500, or contact the Office of Civil Rights for the city of Boston.

For homeless shelter or LGBT public health issues contact the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Health Initiative at Phone: (617) 534-2282 or email: lgbthealth@bphc.org

Northampton, MA (2005)

Contact the Mayor’s Office at 413.587.1249 or email: mayor@northamptonma.gov.

Amherst, MA (2009)

Contact Amherst Human Rights Commission and the Town Manager at 413-259-3002 or email townmanager@amherstma.gov