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/Senate Docket 568)
MTPC is committed to getting public accommodations protections for our transgender youth, adults, and families. The final version of the 2011 Act Relative to Gender Identity, originally filed as Transgender Equal Rights Bill, passed by the legislature did not include protections within public accommodations section of the nondiscrimination laws.
MTPC and the 108 members of Transgender Equal Rights Coalition, including MassEquality, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), ACLU of Massachusetts, MassNOW, Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, Jobs with Justice, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and Interfaith Committee for Transgender Equality look forward to working with policy makers and community supporters in getting full civil rights for transgender youth, adults, and families.
About the Legislation
An Act Relative to Equal Access in Hospitals, Public Transportation, Nursing Homes, Supermarkets, Retail Establishments, and all other places open to the public. Also known as the Equal Access Bill.
Public accommodations protections makes explicit the Commonwealth’s commitment to providing people of diverse gender identities and expressions equal protection under the law, and guarantee transgender and gender non-conforming people 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.
This bill was filed by:
Rep. Carl Sciortino & Rep. Byron Rushing
Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz & Sen. Benjamin Downing
55 other senators and representative have signed on as cosponsors:
|Rep. Denise Andrews||Rep. Cory Atkins||Rep. Ruth B. Balser|
|Sen. Michael Barrett||Sen. William N. Brownsberger||Rep. Paul Brodeur|
|Rep. Gailanne M. Cariddi||Sen. Harriette L. Chandler||Rep. Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera|
|Rep. Thomas P. Conroy||Sen. Cynthia S. Creem||Rep. Marjorie C. Decker|
|Sen. Sal N. DiDomenico||Sen. Kenneth J. Donnelly||Sen. James B. Eldridge|
|Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier||Rep. Gloria L. Fox||Rep. Sean Garballey|
|Rep. Kenneth I. Gordon||Rep. Danielle W. Gregoire||Rep. Jonathan Hecht|
|Rep. Carlos Henriquez||Rep. Paul R. Heroux||Rep. Kate Hogan|
|Rep. Kevin G. Honan||Sen. Patricia D. Jehlen||Rep. Jay R. Kaufman|
|Rep. Mary S. Keefe||Sen. John F. Keenan||Rep. Kay Khan|
|Rep. Peter V. Kocot||Rep. John J. Lawn, Jr.||Rep. Jason M. Lewis|
|Rep. David Paul Linsky||Rep. Brian R. Mannal||Rep. Elizabeth A. Malia|
|Sen. Thomas M. McGee||Rep. Aaron Michlewitz||Rep. James J. O’Day|
|Rep. Sarah K. Peake||Rep. Denise Provost||Rep. David M. Rogers|
|Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg||Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez||Rep. Tom Sannicandro|
|Rep. John W. Scibak||Rep. Frank I. Smizik||Sen. Karen E. Spilka|
|Sen. Ellen Story||Rep. Benjamin Swan||Rep. Aaron Vega|
|Rep. Chris Walsh||Rep. Martha M. Walz||Sen. James T. Welch|
|Sen. Daniel A. Wolf|
Please review 2013 Equal Access Legislative Brief for more information for yourself and to provide to your legislators.
How You Can Help Now
It’s as easy as picking up the phone. We show you how, step by step.
What Are Public Accommodations?
The Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law (M.G.L. c. 272, s. 92A, 98 and 98A) defines a place of public accommodation as “any place, whether licensed or unlicensed, which is open to and accepts or solicits the patronage of the general public.” In other words, a “public accommodation” is any establishment, public or private, that is open to the general public and that provides, or endeavors to provide, some type of goods and/or services to the general public.
Examples of Public Accommodations
- health care facilities, including medical and dental offices, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, nursing homes, and other health care facilities;
- hotels, motels, campsites, and other places of lodging;
- restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other establishments serving food or drink;
- retail establishments, including stores, shopping centers, car rental agencies, and other retail establishments;
- theaters, concert halls, sports arenas and stadiums, and other places of entertainment;
- convention centers, lecture halls, and other places of public gathering;
- museums, libraries, galleries, and other places of public display or collection;
- parks, zoos, amusement parks, beaches, and other places of recreation;
- public transit and bus stations, train terminals, airports, platforms, and other transportation facilities;
- public streets, highways, sidewalks, boardwalks, and other public ways;
- service establishments, including laundromats, dry-cleaners, banks, gas stations, barber shops, beauty salons, travel agents, funeral parlors, employment agencies;
- providers of professional services such as law offices, doctors, dentists,accountants,and insurance agents;
- public spaces and offices of state and local government agencies including, court rooms, hearing rooms, meeting rooms, waiting areas, lobbies, entrances, polling places, public information counters and displays.
Examples of Public Accommodations Discrimination Transgender Youth & Adults Encounter
- Unfair Treatment: Asking invasive personal questions not asked of others and/or being asking for ID if not asked of all customers/patrons
- Denying of service or requesting someone come back with there are no other customers
- Mocking or using hostile language such as referring to someone as “it”
- Threatening harm
- Staff and/or management not intervening with other customers/patrons are harassing and/or harming a transgender youth or adult while in their establishment.
Public Accommodations Discrimination in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts findings from the 2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey by by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
- 58% transgender adults were verbally harassed in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies
- 22% transgender adults were denied equal treatment by a government agency or official
- 24% of transgender adults who have interacted with police reported harassment by officers
- 50% of transgender adults reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance when needed
Materials about the Equal Access Bill and Public Accommodations
- 2013 Equal Access Legislative Brief
- What are Public Accommodations?
- Consequences of Not Having Equal Access Protections in Public Accommodations PDF
Have You Experienced Discrimination in Public Accommodations?
If you have experienced the denial of service, mistreatment, or where asked unfair questions in a public establishment or service, please fill out MTPC’s Report Discrimination Form.