updated 04-07-2013

Press Releases

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.


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


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.”

***


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.

—–

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


"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.


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: www.fenwayhealth.org/voice.

###

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.


Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition Announces New Executive Director, Mason Dunn

Mason-photo

Nancy Nangeroni, Chair of the Steering Committee, has announced the appointment of Mason Dunn as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, effective August 8, 2013.

Dunn brings ten years of experience in LGBT coalition, organization and community, much of it as a transgender community organizer and leader. A recent graduate from the University of New Hampshire School of Law, he comes to MTPC from the NH Civil Liberties Union, where he worked on a fellowship and filled a variety of roles, including communications, policy and research. He most recently served on the Steering Committee for Transgender New Hampshire, and as an adjunct faculty member at UNH Manchester in the Communication Arts department, teaching a course on LGBTQ Images and Perspectives. Prior to law school Dunn worked on the Board of Directors of TransMentors International, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring in the transgender community.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mason, who for many years has committed himself to advocacy on behalf of transgender issues and community,” Nangeroni said. “He brings excellent skills along with a demonstrated dedication to the principles embodied in MTPC’s mission and values. He is the right person to lead our organization as we grow further in fulfillment of the increasingly recognized needs of our underserved community.”

MTPC Vice-Chair Maxwell Ng added, “I’m excited to work with Mason because of the energy and vision he brings to our organization. It’s an exciting time to be involved with MTPC.”

“I am honored to have been selected as the next leader for MTPC, and I’m looking forward to working in this amazing community,” Dunn said. “The Massachusetts trans* movement has seen astonishing progress over the past few years thanks to MTPC, yet we have a long way to go in achieving full equality for our community.”

***

Founded in 2001, MTPC is dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. The organization works to educate the public about transgender identities, advocates in state and local governments and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action.


MTPC Commends Social Security Administration on Dropping Surgery Requirement for Gender Marker Change

Boston, MA [6/20/2013] — The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is pleased to report that effective June 13 the Social Security Administration no longer requires an individual to undergo surgery to have the gender marker changed in SSA records.

The SSA will now accept “medical certification of appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition in the form of an original signed statement from a licensed physician” as proof when submitting the change request form. Prior to this policy change, the medical certification specified completing surgery.

“With this Social Security policy, the federal government is acknowledging that important gender-related medical decisions should be made by individuals and their doctors,” said Jesse Begenyi, interim director of MTPC.

This new SSA policy reflects that the current standard of care for transgender individuals no longer requires surgery as part of gender transition. In fact, at its annual meeting this week, the American Medical Association passed a resolution in support of US jurisdictions changing the gender marker on birth certificates for transgender individuals based upon “verification by a physician that the individual has undergone transition according to applicable medical standards of care.”

“Surgery is not financially feasible, desirable or medically appropriate for some individuals, so that has been a permanent roadblock for many transgender people in getting their records changed,” Begenyi said.

Many government agencies and companies access Social Security data for verification purposes, so the new policy ensures that medical history remains confidential except when disclosure is necessary for the health and safety of the individual.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has released “Transgender People and the Social Security Administration,” a resource to help transgender people across the country to understand and take advantage of the new Social Security policy. This resource, which includes the wording physicians should use for their medical certification letters, is available at http://transequality.org/Resources/SSAResource_June2013.pdf. MTPC’s website is also being updated to reflect the change.

“MTPC is grateful to NCTE, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Lesbian Rights for their dedication over the past seven years to secure this important Social Security policy change,” Begenyi said.

###

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.


New BPD Transgender Guidelines

Contact: Jesse Begenyi
jesseb@masstpc.org
617-778-0519

Boston Police Department Issues Guidelines for Interactions with Transgender Individuals 

 

Boston, MA [6/11/2013] — On June 4, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis issued SO 13-025, a Special Order outlining department guidelines for police contact with transgender individuals.

The Special Order states: “The policy of the Boston Police Department is to treat all individuals with dignity, respect, and professionalism. Officers shall at all times abide by Boston Police Department Rule 102 §9 (Respectful Treatment), as well as the City of Boston Office of Human Resources’ ‘Guidelines to Prevent Gender Identity Discrimination’ when interacting with transgender individuals.”

The order defines terms including “transgender,” “gender identity” and “gender expression” and states that the police should use the name and pronouns the transgender individual prefers; that search or frisk shall not be performed for the sole purpose of determining an individual’s anatomical sex; and that officers may not fail to respond to a call for service based on the gender identity or expression of the caller.

As part of the new guidelines, a Statement of Search Preference Form allows transgender individuals to request a female or a male police officer to conduct their searches.

Jesse Begenyi, Interim Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, commended the Boston Police Department for taking this important step to help make interactions between the police and members of the transgender community much safer.

“MTPC thanks Commissioner Davis, BPD LGBT liaison Javier Pagan, former MTPC executive director Gunner Scott, and everyone who worked to draft and implement this important policy,” Begenyi said. “We hope police departments statewide will adopt similar policies.”

###

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.


Fourth Annual Lawyers for Transgender Rights Event to Feature Representative Carl Sciortino and Dylan Orr from the U.S. Department of Labor

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is pleased to announce its fourth annual Lawyers for Transgender Rights (LTR) event on Thursday, April 4 at 6 p.m. at The Estate in Boston. Massachusetts Representative Carl Sciortino will be accepting MTPC’s 2013 Transgender Ally Award, and Dylan Orr of the U.S. Department of Labor will be accepting the 2013 Community Advocate Award. The recipient of this year’s Commitment to Service Award will be announced during the event.

This LTR cocktail reception and silent auction brings together lawyers, law students, law firms, legal organizations, bar associations and law schools to network and build support in the legal community for MTPC’s work on behalf of transgender rights.

“Lawyers for Transgender Rights provides an important opportunity to hear about MTPC’s exciting work while raising money for this amazing organization,” said Bri Lacy, co-chair of LTR’s Host Committee.

2013 Transgender Ally Award recipient Carl Sciortino has been a leading progressive voice in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since his election in 2004. In addition to being a lead sponsor of both recent transgender rights bills, he has led battles for preserving marriage equality and establishing a buffer zone around reproductive healthcare facilities. He has also advocated for a range social and economic justice issues, including raising the minimum wage, closing corporate tax loopholes, passing the state’s landmark universal healthcare law, pushing for improvements in education and testing policies and increasing access to public transportation.

“Carl Sciortino is the very definition of a strong ally,” said MTPC Interim Director Jesse Begenyi. “He has been there at every step of the process in securing equal rights for the Commonwealth’s transgender community, and he understands the complex systems of oppression creating the need for legal protections. You can tell that even beyond fighting for legal equality for our community, Carl is very invested in people as individuals and works to make sure everyone has an equal chance to lead a full and rich life.”

2013 Community Advocate Award recipient Dylan Orr serves as Special Advisor to Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathy Martinez in the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor, contributing to the development of national disability-employment-related regulations and policy. He also represents the Department of Labor on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Among Orr’s volunteer pursuits, he is a founding member of Trans Legal Advocates of Washington and is the first openly transgender person appointed to a U.S. presidential administration. Prior to this appointment, his legal and policy background focused on civil rights and social justice issues.

“MTPC plays an invaluable role in Massachusetts,” Host Committee Co-chair Lacy said. “It led the fight for the transgender equal rights legislation that passed in 2012 and is still working to broaden the legal protections available for gender identity and expression. MTPC also establishes best practices and provides much-needed educational opportunities. I’m thrilled that the legal community has become such a strong supporter of its work.”

2013 Lawyers for Transgender Rights event sponsors include Ropes & Gray, WilmerHale, Foley Hoag LLP, Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP, Edwards Wildman, Kauffman Crozier LLP, and many other organizations and individuals (the full listing is available on MTPC’s website).

This year’s event will include live music by Urban Myth and a silent auction featuring items such as Red Sox tickets and a limited edition (only 1 of 39) 20×16 framed photo of the 2004 Patriots signed by 29 players. Tickets will be on sale at the door the night the event: $70 for lawyers, $40 for non-profit and $20 for students. For more information please see masstpc.org/community-events/ltr2013.

LTR Host Committee Co-chair Catherine Deneke said, “We are so proud that the legal community continues to stand on the side of equality and has shown such tremendous support for MTPC and this event.”

###

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.


MTPC Releases “Best Practices for Serving Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students in Schools”

small K-12 Best Practices01The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) has released its best practice recommendations concerning equal and fair treatment, rights and safety of transgender and gender non-conforming youth in K-12 schools. “Best Practices for Serving Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students in Schools,” is being made available free to all school districts in the state on MTPC’s website (masstpc.org/issues/education). This complements the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education “Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity.”

These best practices provide additional tools for school administrators, teachers and superintendents in implementing the 2011 Act Relative to Gender Identity for gender identity non-discrimination in K-12 public schools. These recommendations were developed by the MTPC Policy Committee and reflect the best educational practice models used in other school systems with existing gender identity non-discrimination laws, policies and regulations in other states, in addition to policy recommendations developed by LGBT think tanks and LGBT education policy specialists.

MTPC’s Executive Director Gunner Scott said, “The evidence is overwhelming that transgender and gender non-conforming youth need active school support and protection for their physical and mental health and educational well-being. I applaud the Massachusetts legislature and Governor Deval Patrick for the passage and enactment of the 2011 Act Relative to Gender Identity law, which requires non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the areas of education, employment, housing and credit/lending.”

Transgender and gender non-conforming youth experience overwhelming amounts of harassment and discrimination in schools across the Commonwealth and throughout the nation. The 2007 National School Climate Survey conducted by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that 87% of transgender students had been verbally harassed in the previous year because of their gender expression, and more than a quarter had been physically assaulted. More than half of those who were victimized did not report the events to school authorities.

“We look forward to collaborating with school administrators, superintendents and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in utilizing these best practice recommendations in all Massachusetts school districts,” said Julian Cyr, chair of the Massachusetts Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth.  “The Commission is committed to continuing to collaborate with educators, policy makers and community partners such as MTPC to provide technical assistance and professional development to ensure that teachers and schools have the tools they need to fully support transgender and gender-nonconforming students.”

Scott said, “These recommendations were prepared by the MTPC Policy Committee and reflect the best educational practice models used in other school systems with existing gender identity non-discrimination laws, policies and regulations in other states, in addition to policy recommendations developed by LGBT think tanks and LGBT education policy specialists.”

These recommendations include examples of: how to address transgender students by their preferred names and pronouns in records and in the classroom; how to provide updated copies of high school diplomas when students’ names are changed; and ways to keep students’ transgender status confidential, unless necessary to ensure the students’ safety.

In addition to the 2011 law, the Massachusetts Superior and Appeals Courts ruled in October 2000 and February 2001, respectively, that Massachusetts public schools may not prohibit transgender students from expressing their gender identities and are afforded the same protections and rights under the law as other students.

###

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.


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 Announces Leadership Change

gunnerscott headshotGunner Scott, a founding member of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition since 2008, will be leaving his position as MTPC executive director at the end of February to pursue other opportunities.

“We are enormously grateful to Gunner for the tremendous work he has done on behalf of transgender youth, adults, our families and the community in Massachusetts. We’re all very sorry to see him go, and we’re also looking forward to building further on our collective vision for this organization and our community,” said MTPC steering committee chair Nancy Nangeroni.

“I have been so privileged and honored to have been able to work with amazing people during my time at MTPC,” said Scott. “We have such dedication among our steering committee, staff, volunteers and in the broader community of transgender youth, adults, their families and our allies. Knowing that I’ve been supported in my advocacy for my community has made this work so meaningful for me, and I leave MTPC being proud of the work that we have done.”

“I want to thank all those that have put their trust into sharing their stories with me, whether toward passing legislation or just talking about their experiences. I look forward to seeing the next chapter of MTPC unfold, and I am confident that the organization will continue to grow stronger,” Scott said.

Current MTPC community organizer Jesse Begenyi, who has been working alongside Scott since 2009, will serve as MTPC’s interim director while the steering committee undertakes a careful process to identify and hire a new permanent executive director. MTPC will engage in an assessment process that will help to reflect on the organization’s progress, plan for the leadership transition and set the strategic direction. The search for a new director will begin in the next couple of months with a formal job announcement. Third Sector New England will be providing organizational expertise throughout the transition, through a grant from the Boston Foundation Vision Fund.

Steering Committee Vice Chair Maxwell Ng said, “Gunner Scott and MTPC have made it safer for me to live and work in Massachusetts. I know the steering committee is firmly committed to its mission as well as to the community that MTPC has fostered. The foundation already laid inspires me to look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.”

A public gathering to honor Gunner Scott for his work will be held Friday, February 22 at Club Cafe, 209 Columbus Ave., Boston, from 6:30 to 9 pm. 

For more information, email chair@masstpc.org.

###

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 political activism, and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action. More information can be found at www.masstpc.org.


MTPC Hosts Legislative Action Day for Transgender Public Accommodations Protections on Jan. 17, 2013

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is hosting a Legislative Action Day at the State House January 17 from 11 am to 1 pm. Constituents will gather to educate their legislators about the necessity of protecting transgender people’s access to public accommodations through the passage of An Act Relative to Equal Access in Hospitals, Public Transportation, Nursing Homes, Supermarkets, Retail Establishments, and all other places open to the public.

The Equal Access Bill would add “gender identity” to 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.

Public accommodations include any establishment, public or private, that is open to the general public and provides, or endeavors to provide, some type of goods and/or services to the general public. Examples of accommodations are banks, gas stations, beauty salons, funeral parlors and employment agencies; offices of professionals such as doctors, attorneys, dentists, accountants, travel agents and insurance agents; court rooms, lobbies, polling places and government agencies; hotels, restaurants and bars; shopping centers; theaters, concert halls, sports arenas and convention centers; museums, libraries and galleries; parks, zoos, amusement parks and beaches; public transit and airports; and public streets and sidewalks.

MTPC’s Executive Director, Gunner Scott, said, “Public accommodations protections would make explicit the Commonwealth’s commitment to providing people of all gender identities equal protection under the law, and guarantee transgender youth, adults, and families the opportunity to participate in and contribute to their communities and to the local economy. This bill is about fairness and all residents having the same access to public places.”

According to a recent transgender discrimination survey, 58% of Massachusetts respondents experienced verbal harassment or mistreatment in public accommodations such as hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies because they are transgender; 22% of transgender adults were denied equal treatment by a government agency or official; and 24% of transgender adults who interacted with police experienced harassment by officers.

“I applaud the Massachusetts legislature and Governor Deval Patrick for the 2011 passage of An Act Relative to Gender Identity, which adds gender identity non-discrimination protections in the areas of education, employment, housing and credit/lending. The Equal Access Bill fills in that missing piece of public accommodations, which are all the places between home, work or school. This is necessary for full equality all transgender youth, adults, and families in Massachusetts,” said Nancy Nangeroni, chair of MTPC’s board.

RSVP: http://www.masstpc.org/take-action/current-legislation/legislative-action-day/


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.


Statement on International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers

More than 50 U.S. LGBTQ and allied organizations from around the country, including MTPC, released the following statement marking the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers and voicing their support for efforts worldwide to defend the lives and rights of all people involved in the sex trades.


December 17, 2012

The undersigned lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, Two Spirit and allied organizations mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers by calling for support for efforts worldwide to defend the lives and rights of all people involved in the sex trades.

We recognize that systemic homophobia, transphobia and racism, disproportionate poverty and homelessness, widespread discrimination, and an absence of pathways to immigration status, frequently limit the economic and survival options of LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ youth and adults of color and transgender people. These conditions not only inform and can contribute to the involvement of LGBTQ people in the sex trades, whether by choice, circumstance, or coercion  – they also increase the vulnerability to violence and abuse against LGBTQ people in the sex trades.

We recognize that, of the many LGBTQ people who are victims of hate violence each year, many are — or are perceived to be — involved in the sex trades. Many are targeted for violence in part for this reason.

Just one month ago we observed the Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we commemorate the lives of transgender people who have been targeted for violence. Many of the people we remember today — those lost to violence against sex workers and people in the sex trades — are the same individuals we remembered on November 20.

We recognize that all too often police and other officials abuse both LGBTQ people and people who are or are perceived to be involved in the sex trades. LGBTQ people involved in the sex trades are among those most at risk of violence, yet often face indifference when reporting violence. We recognize that profiling of LGBTQ youth of color and transgender people for prostitution-related offenses remains pervasive in many communities and harms all LGBTQ people, exposing us to violence at the hands of police, prison officials, and immigration authorities.

We recognize that the voices and visions of LGBTQ people who are or have been sex workers or involved in the sex trades have historically been — and continue to be — at the forefront of movements for LGBTQ equality and freedom worldwide, and must play a leadership role in informing our responses to violence against people in the sex trades.

We recognize that policy approaches focused on increasing safety, opportunity, empowerment, and harm reduction, and which focus on meeting basic needs for housing, living wage employment, and health care through voluntary, LGBTQ-affirming and non-judgmental services are essential to ending violence against people involved in the sex trades. We believe that harsh punitive approaches only increase vulnerability to violence among those they seek to protect.

We recognize that violence against sex workers and people in the sex trades is an LGBTQ issue, and we stand committed to ending it.

Signing Organizations
American Civil Liberties Union
Audre Lorde Project – New York, NY
Best Practices Policy Project
BreakOUT, New Orleans, LA
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Community United Against Violence (CUAV) – San Francisco, CA
DC Trans Coalition – Washington, DC
Equality Maryland
Family Equality Council
FIERCE – New York, NY
Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) – Washington, DC
Gender Justice Nevada
Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS) – Washington, DC
Human Rights Campaign
Immigration Equality
Lambda Legal
Louisiana Trans Advocates
Make the Road New York
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Coalition for LGBT Health
National Council of Jewish Women
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Native Youth Sexual Health Network
New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE)
PFLAG National
Persist Health Project – New York, NY
Rainbow Response Coalition – Washington, DC
Red Umbrella Project
Queers for Economic Justice
Sex Workers Action New York
Sex Workers Outreach Project USA (SWOP-USA)
SWOP Chicago
SWOP NYC
SWOP San Francisco Bay Area
Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center – New York, NY
Streetwise and Safe – New York, NY
Sylvia Rivera Law Project – New York, NY
Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
Trans Advocacy Network
Transgender Education Network of Texas
Transgender Health Empowerment (THE) – Washington, DC
Transgender Law Center
Trans Youth Equality Foundation
The Trevor Project
VenusPlusX
Women with a Vision – New Orleans, LA


MTPC Meets with White House Staff to Mark TDOR

Transgender leaders and allies meeting with John Berry, director of the US Office of Personnel Management and the highest ranking openly gay person in President Obama’s administration.

On November 20, 2012, MTPC Executive Director Gunner Scott and forty leaders from state, local, national and international transgender organizations met with John Berry, director of the US Office of Personnel Management and the highest ranking openly gay person in President Barack Obama’s administration. The meeting also included Gautam Raghavan, associate director in the Office of Public Engagement, and other White House staff. This historic meeting was to mark the Fourteenth Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance and to discuss ways in which the president’s administration, transgender leaders and allies can work together to ensure dignity, equality and justice for transgender youth, adults and our families.

In his first term, the Obama administration has been enacting positive policy changes including a sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination employment policy for the president’s administration; appointing four talented, openly transgender people; adding sexual-orientation and gender-identity non-discrimination provisions for federal employees and HUD-funded housing programs; and issuing new rules for passport gender-marker changes. In addition, in May 2011 the Office of Personnel Management issued guidance regarding transgender employees in the federal workplace.

“I felt very honored to be included in this meeting with the Obama administration and with other state, national and international transgender leaders,” said Gunner Scott, MTPC’s executive director. “We each addressed issues that are concerning to the transgender communities and provided possible solutions. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to speak on the impact of homelessness on our transgender youth, adults and families and to bring that message to the administration.”

The meeting opened with Berry leading a moment of silence in remembrance of the transgender women and men who have been victims of violence over the past year. The meeting closed with White House staff reaffirming President Obama’s commitment to preventing violence against all people, including all members of the LGBT community.

See the White House press release about this meeting: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/11/20/transgender-day-remembrance


Joint statement of GLAD and MTPC on Commonwealth’s Appeal of Kosilek Decision

Joint statement of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and

the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition on

Commonwealth’s Appeal of Kosilek Decision

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) reacted with disappointment today to the Commonwealth’s announcement that it will appeal the district court decision which established that gender reassignment surgery is necessary medical care for prisoner Michelle Kosilek.

Gunner Scott, Executive Director of MTPC said, “We are very disappointed that the Commonwealth has decided to go in this direction.  Care that is medically necessary for prisoners cannot be denied based on public opinion.”

Jennifer Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director for GLAD said, “Constitutional rights belong to everyone, even the least loved, least popular people among us.  Prisoners have a right to necessary medical care, and this is indisputably medical care, as the very strong district court decision established.”

She added, “There really is no legal ground for this appeal.  We believe the district court decision is very solid and will stand.”

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

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

 

 

 


MTPC's statement on Federal judge's ruling that state must provide gender reassignment surgery for transgender inmate

As we have seen over the last few years with such organizations as the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, whose positions have included that gender reassignment, hormone therapy, and other medical treatments are medically necessary for transgender individuals and/or those who are suffering from gender dysphoria (previously known as gender identity disorder).  This Federal judge’s ruling is in line with these well respected medical associations in understanding that gender reassignment surgery is medically necessary and can be part of a medical treatment plan for transgender individuals.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition looks forward to the day when all transgender individuals can have full and equal access and coverage to all medically necessary treatments, including gender reassignment surgery, as prescribed by health care providers in their treatment of gender dysphoria for transgender, transsexual, and gender non-conforming individuals.

Gunner Scott
Executive Director


MTPC Releases New I AM : Trans People Speak Videos Featuring The Theater Offensive Staff

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is excited to announce the release of three new stories as part of their multi-media public education campaign entitled I AM: Trans People Speak. The new videos come from four members of The Theater Offensive (TTO) Staff. TTO engages local community members in creating art that gives voice to the diversity of LGBT experiences.

I AM: Trans People Speak is a project to raise awareness about the diversity that exists within transgender communities. It gives a voice to transgender individuals, as well as their families, friends and allies. MTPC launched the groundbreaking I AM: Trans People Speak project in conjunction with Transgender Awareness Week in November 2010, and has since released new videos on a consistent basis. I AM: Trans People Speak is a collection of recorded stories that aims to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions of transgender individuals by highlighting the realities of their lived experiences. I AM: Trans People Speak fosters support and raises awareness for trans communities by providing a forum where these unique stories can be shared and given significance.

One of the new videos features Abe Rybeck, TTO’s Executive Artistic Director, founder, and trans ally. TTO grew out of a drag street theater troupe in 1989, which Abe says is just one way in which his life and work owe everything to the inspiration and patience he has received from his trans friends and colleagues. Abe describes his path to becoming an ally and the ways his trans friends helped him overcome his ignorance to better understand what it means to be trans.

Another new video comes from Allison, TTO’s Communications Manager, an activist, singer/ songwriter, and trans ally. In her video, she talks about the struggles her transgender friends and colleagues face, and shares the way she works to be an ally to the trans community.

Kaamila, an Executive Artistic Director Intern at TTO who is learning how to be a trans ally, shares her unique experience as a person of color and a bisexual and queer identified woman. This experience has allowed her to understand the diversity of experiences among LGBT people and their various needs. In her video, Kaamila stresses the importance of educating yourself and taking responsibility for learning how to be a better ally to the transgender community.

The final new addition to the I AM: Trans People Speak website comes from Gabe who is an Executive Artistic Director Intern at TTO, activist, a brother, a boyfriend, and a trans guy. Gabe weaves an engaging narrative that discusses identity, family, and struggle, telling the joy of being accepted by friends, as well as the painful reality of being a college graduate who struggles to find a job because of his legal name and gender marker, making the process difficult. In his video, Gabe says “I want people to know that the transgender community is just as rich and diverse as any other community of people… I don’t want people to think that there’s one cookie cutter way to be transgender.”

These videos highlight the central mission of the I AM: Trans People Speak project by showing the diversity of experiences among transgender people and allies who belong to a wide variety of intersecting communities. Gunner Scott, MTPC’s Executive Director said, “MTPC is committed to giving transgender people and their allies the opportunity to be heard. We are thrilled that The Theater Offensive has submitted these videos, and hope that other individuals and organizations will submit their stories in order to expand the range of voices and experiences represented in the project.”

For more information please visit www.transpeoplespeak.org or direct questions to info@transpeoplespeak.org

To watch these videos and more please visit: www.transpeoplespeak.org.