Transgender Anti-Discrimination Hearing Recap

By Oliver, Public Education Intern

On Tuesday, October 6th, the public hearing on An Act Relative to Gender Identity and Nondiscrimination (SB 735 and HB 1577) took place at the State House. The bill would legally protect transgender people from discrimination in public spaces; hotels, restaurants, public transportation, hospitals, etc. These protections already exist in employment, housing, education, and credit and lending, so this bill is the last thing standing between us and full protection under Massachusetts law.

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The hearing had a great turnout thanks to MTPC supporters like you! Green-clad advocates and allies filled the auditorium, and influential figures spoke in favor of the proposed protections, including Attorney General Maura Healey and Congressman Joe Kennedy. Many powerful personal testimonies were given. “Today, I have a thriving daughter,” said Jeanne Talbot, whose teenage daughter, Nicole, is transgender. “But there is still discrimination at every turn…. Our work is not done until every person in Massachusetts is protected.” Fourteen-year-old Brandon Adams shared his harrowing story of receiving death threats after coming out as transgender in public school. He went on to say, “I refuse to live in fear. I have come here today, with my family and friends, to loudly and proudly support this bill.”

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Testimonies like these paint a clear picture of why this bill is so vital to the Massachusetts transgender population. Gaps in the law are not just inconvenient; for people like Nicole and Brandon, lack of protections can be life threatening. No one should have to live with the fear of facing discrimination or harassment every time they take a taxi, eat at a restaurant, or check into a hospital – simply because of who they are. Massachusetts has long had a reputation of inclusion and tolerance; it’s time to update the laws to continue reflecting those values.

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We can’t do this without your help.

As lawmakers make their decision in the coming weeks, it’s critical to keep up the momentum by continuing to put names and faces to the supporters of this bill. Freedom Massachusetts, the coalition spearheading this campaign, is still collecting personal stories from transgender folks and their allies.

Encourage your friends and family to tell their stories, and submit your own here!
The opposition needs to know that this issue is not just an arbitrary ideological debate; real people’s safety and wellbeing are on the line. To learn more about the bill and other ways you can help, please visit freedommassachusetts.org.

Photos by Hurley Event Photography

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Announcing the ID Project!

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is excited to announce the start of the preliminary phase of the ID Project. The ID Project will assist trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) individuals in Massachusetts through the process of legally changing their name and/or gender marker.

Once community members who would like to join the project sign up with MTPC, they will be matched with a trained volunteer. We know that changing your name and/or gender marker can be difficult, with a cost in time, money, emotional resources, and often-frustrating government bureaucracy. The ID Project can link community members with someone to make this process easier by helping to fill out forms, call the courthouse, or provide other backup in the face of a challenging system for as long as it takes. We hope that by training a pool of knowledgeable and helpful volunteers, MTPC can create a new long-term resource for the local trans community.

Spots in the preliminary phase of the ID Project are limited as we are trying to work out any kinks before it is opened up on a larger scale. If you are interested in being paired with a supportive volunteer as you go through a name and/or gender marker change, please either email alexis@masstpc.org or call us at (617-778-0519)

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Save the Date: Nov 22 for Boston TDOR

The Boston Transgender Day of Remembrance will be observed on Sunday, November 22 at 4pm at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston.   For more information about the event, or to become an event sponsor, please visit www.masstpc.org/tdor.

The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) memorializes individuals who have died throughout the world in the previous year because of anti-transgender hatred. Each November, the worldwide transgender community turns its attention to family, friends and loved ones lost to violence and prejudice. A tradition inspired by the Allston, MA vigil for slain transsexual Rita Hester in 1998, this day has become the worldwide rallying point for a community long under siege.

 If you can, please sponsor this important community event.

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Name and Gender Marker Change Survey

Do you identify as trans* or gender non-conforming? Do you have any interest in legally changing your name and/or gender marker in Massachusetts, or have you previously? Do you know someone who does/has?

We are currently reaching out to trans*- and gender non-conforming-identified individuals to ask for participation in a survey regarding a Name and Gender Marker Change project. The Name and Gender Marker Change project is a pilot collaborative initiative being developed by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), MaeBright Group LLC, and The Crossing to serve Trans- and gender non-conforming community members who want or intend to legally change their name and/or gender marker in the state of Massachusetts. MTPC will partner with The Crossing to train and coordinate volunteers who will be paired with and will offer support to community members initially and throughout their legal process(es). In order to best understand the needs of the community and identify mindful ways to structure this project, we hope to gather insight from community members through the following survey.

We hope you will take 10-15 minutes out of your day to help us with the valuable feedback. Your answers will be kept confidential, will only be viewed by the project team members, and will only be used for this project. We hope to have as many answers as possible by Tuesday, July 22. Please feel free to share this information with anyone else you feel may have input on the process of legally changing names and/or gender markers with respect to gender identity. The survey can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1BHoSZVqVjIPX-PC-I83735YoKby8CiTcAzV2Ae3LZk0/viewform?usp=send_form If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact Ty or Yeja: Ty (MaeBright Group): ty@maebright.com Yeja (MassTPC): Yeja@MTPC.org Your input is essential to this project and we sincerely appreciate your time. Thank you!

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Onward!

It was a weekend of celebration and excitement in the LGBTQ movement as Pride Month came to a close. Marriage equality has been achieved at the national level, and we congratulate the activists, advocates, supporters, and volunteers who made this win a reality.

But now it’s July, and it’s time to continue the work. We are one step closer to lived equality for all LGBTQ people, and we cannot stop now. Join us in the continued journey, and together we can make history for human rights.

As you may have seen, MTPC has joined forces with many LGBTQ and human rights organizations to form Freedom Massachusetts. This campaign is working to secure nondiscrimination protections for gender identity and gender expression in all Massachusetts public spaces. Please take a moment to join the campaign and sign the pledge.

Want to volunteer for the campaign? Email Katie: Katie@FreedomMassachusetts.org. We need your help with phone banks, data input, organizing, and so much more. This is an opportunity to be on the ground floor of a very exciting campaign.

There is so much work left to do, but with this momentum, we are unstoppable. Join the movement, and together we can continue to change the world.

Onward!

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We’re so honored! Join us at North Shore Pride.

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We hope you’ll join MTPC ED Mason Dunn and Steering Committee Chair Emeritus Nancy Nangeroni at the amazing North Shore Pride event in Salem, MA, on Saturday, June 20 from noon to 5.

Stop by our table to hear about our work, learn how to get involved, or just say hello! And be sure to enter our T-shirt and iPad Mini raffles!

We will have postcards you can sign for Gov. Charlie Baker asking him to support our public access bill. We’ll also have letter writing materials if you want to send something longer and more personal.

If you’re around at 1, you can see MTPC accept this year’s Joan Parker Memorial Award. Joan was a friend of North Shore Pride and she and her husband, Robert, were staunch advocates for LGBT rights.

We hope to see you there!

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