updated 02-28-2015

Submit Testimony for Equal Access Bill

MTPC’s legislative focus is on An Act Relative to Equal Access in Hospitals, Public Transportation, Nursing Homes, Supermarkets, Retail Establishments, and All Other Places Open to the Public (House Bill 1589/Senate Bill 643), which would add “gender identity” to existing state civil rights laws, which currently permit the exclusion of transgender people in public spaces.

The hearing for the Equal Access Bill was July 9, 2013, and your legislators still need to hear from you! Below is a template you can use when writing a letter to your representative and senator. Please feel free to add more about your reasons for supporting this bill or describe your own experiences of discrimination in a place of public accommodation.

Letter template

Dear Senator or Representative _____________________,

My name is ___________________ and I live at ____________________________ [include your address (optional) and the name of your town. Optional: what’s your family situation?]. I am _____________________ [include occupation, group memberships–be short and selective].

I am writing to urge you to support An Act Relative to Equal Access in Hospitals, Public Transportation, Nursing Homes, Supermarkets, Retail Establishments, and all other places open to the public, introduced in the House by Representatives Carl Sciortino and Byron Rushing and in the Senate by Senators Ben Downing and Sonia Chang-Diaz. This proposed law would prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation such as [list three to five types of public accommodations. Some examples are: hospitals, hotels, restaurants, stores, nursing homes, theaters, convention centers, libraries, public transportation, public streets, offices of state and local government, and polling places–see the Examples of Public Accommodations PDF for other places].

I believe this bill is important because ________________________________________ [please add your personal story or reason for supporting this bill].

With the passage of this law, Massachusetts would send a clear message to its citizens that all people are entitled to feel safe in their communities and to be offered the full protection of the law, regardless of their gender identity or expression.

By offering protection in places of public accommodation where people experience harassment and discrimination, this law would increase productivity, freedom, and safety for transgender youth and adults who are employees, consumers, residents, and students.

Please help Massachusetts join the many communities–including the states of Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine–that already provide protection in places of public accommodation on the basis of gender identity and/or expression.

[Write a closing sentence that sums up what you believe this bill will accomplish and/or how your life would be better when this bill passes.]

Respectfully,
[Your Name]

MAILING THE LETTERS

Print two copies of the letter and send one to each of these addresses:

Massachusetts Senate Judiciary Committee
Room 410
State House
Boston, MA 02133

Massachusetts House Judiciary Committee
Room 410
State House
Boston, MA 02133

It is also important to write to your own Senator and Representative. You can use this same letter template but address it to your own Senator and your own Representative. You can also meet with them in person or call their office. Find your state legislators here.

Resources

Sample testimony 1
Sample testimony 2
Sample testimony 3
Sample testimony 4

Download PDF about Testifying at a Public Hearing (MGLPC)
Download Oral/Written Testimony Worksheet PDF