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Joint Statement of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition (MTPC) on the Treatment of Individuals Arrested for Protesting ‘Straight Pride’ Parade in Boston
We are profoundly disturbed by the events surrounding the ‘Straight Pride’ parade in Boston on August 31, including the cascading missteps surrounding the counter-protest and its aftermath, at the hands of the police and the justice system. They are reminders of how far we have to go before our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and especially transgender communities can trust that our voices will be heard, and our identities respected, in the public square, without fear of mistreatment or discrimination.
The individuals who gathered to protest the ‘Straight Pride’ parade did so to voice disagreement with the event’s extremist messages, including the message that LGBTQ people are not “normal.” Such dehumanizing statements, made by parade organizers who have ties to White Supremacist and other alt right ideologies, threaten not only the dignity but also the safety of LGB and especially transgender lives.
Our aspirations for equal justice in our nation require protection of avenues of dissent. And yet, the heavy-handed police tactics at the rally, resulting in the arrests of protesters, threatens to squelch the voices of marginalized people, particularly the transgender community who already experience harassment and discrimination at the hands of the police.
What happened subsequently in the courtroom did little to restore our community’s trust in the justice system. While prosecutors, under the leadership of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins, tried to do the right thing by declining to prosecute the minor charges levied against the protesters, Suffolk Municipal Court Judge Sinnott refused to defer to prosecutorial discretion and instead insisted that many of these charges go forward. Judicial resources are not well spent on prosecuting people who showed up at a rally to engage civic values of discourse.
To make matters worse, Judge Sinnott later mistreated one defendant, Kai De Jesus, a transgender woman of color, with humiliating and dehumanizing statements about her gender and name, including equating her name with a criminal alias. Whether intentional or not, comments like those made by Judge Sinnott send the message to transgender people that they may not receive a fair hearing in court – the opposite of the expectation we should be ensuring all residents of the Commonwealth can confidently hold with regards to our justice system.
But we have the power to change that. In 2018 the trial court created a mandated training, required of every trial court employee, including judges, setting out expectations for fair, respectful and inclusive treatment of transgender people in our courts. Last week demonstrated how critical such trainings are to continue on an ongoing basis for all court staff, including the judges who are entrusted with delivering unbiased justice.
Last year the Massachusetts community voted overwhelmingly to uphold protections for transgender individuals in public spaces, including on the streets and in the courts. It is up to all of us to live up to our collective aspirations of upholding fairness, dignity, and respect for LGB and transgender people, and for all people in the Commonwealth.
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation. GLAD participated in the development of the 2018 trial court training on inclusive and respectful treatment of transgender people in the court system.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is dedicated to ending oppression and discrimination on the basis on gender identity and gender expression. Rooted in social justice, we educate the public; advocate with state, local and federal government; engage in activism; and encourage the empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC offers regular trainings throughout the state on trans and non-binary identities and on developing accessibility and inclusion for trans and non-binary communities.
Tre’Andre Valentine to Lead the
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Boston, MA July 17, 2019
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) announced today that Tre’Andre Valentine will take the helm as its new Executive Director.
Tre’Andre, who uses he/they pronouns, brings nearly a decade of non-profit experience and grassroots organizing energy to MTPC. In their previous role at The Network La Red, Tre’Andre was responsible for managing community engagement, outreach programs, educational programming, as well as grassroots fundraising. Tre’Andre also served on MTPC’s steering committee from 2006-2016. In addition to their extensive experience in the non-profit sector, they also bring their own lived experience as an indigenous transgender person of color.
“After an extensive, two month long search process, we are so thrilled to have Tre’Andre on board,” said Michelle Tat, Co-chair of MTPC’s Steering Committee. Co-chair Kaden Mohamed added, “In Tre’Andre we found a leader with drive, excitement, and passion whose values, skills, expertise, and lived experiences will guide MTPC into its future.”
“I am humbled and honored to have the privilege of leading MTPC as we continue to forge forward,” said Tre’Andre. “Massachusetts has a strong foundation for transgender rights thanks to the leadership of my predecessors Gunner Scott, Mason Dunn, as well as the steering committee and all of MTPC’s supporters and allies. “I look forward to being a part of the effort of making a difference in the daily lived experiences of transgender, non-binary, and genderqueer individuals of Massachusetts.”
MTPC is coming off its historic 2018 victory in the Yes on 3 Campaign, defending transgender rights at the ballot box in Massachusetts. “We now have the opportunity to help our state become a place not only with legal protections, but where trans and non-binary people experience lived equality in their daily lives,” said Tre’Andre.
Founded in 2001, MTPC is a trans led and trans focused organization that has been working for almost two decades to improve the lives of Massachusetts transgender youth, adults, and their families. The Steering Committee and Tre’Andre are excited to step into this next phase of the organization’s work and to continue building and engaging community along the way.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is dedicated to ending oppression and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. Rooted in social justice, we educate the public, advocate with state, local and federal government, engage in activism and encourage empowerment of community members through collective action.
Boston, MA – On Friday, December 15, 2017, the Trump Administration took yet another step in their efforts to suppress the rights of transgender people and minority communities. In a report from the Washington Post, we learned that the White House has issued orders to the Centers for Disease Control, stating the CDC can no longer use the word transgender, along with six other words and phrases such as “diversity” and “evidence-based,” in budget documents. This is nothing more than a prejudiced attempt to erase lives and facts, through an attack on health policy at the national level.
“Our lives and identities will not be censored,” said Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition Executive Director Mason Dunn. “We will not be erased from the conversation. We stand together in the fight to ensure that fact and science prevails, even when those in power would deny them.”
“The federal government is improperly politicizing our public health agencies. This effort compromises the life-saving work of the CDC. It makes it even more challenging to reduce health disparities and will exacerbate negative health outcomes, particularly in vulnerable populations and marginalized communities,” said Lawyers’ Committee’s Executive Director Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal.
The banned words are:
- Entitlement; and
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, stand firm in our resolve to fight these unprecedented attacks on our communities.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is dedicated to ending oppression and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice fosters equal opportunity and fights discrimination on behalf of people of color and immigrants. We engage in creative and courageous legal action, education, and advocacy in collaboration with law firms and community partners.
Trans Awareness Month is in full swing. Every year we take the month of November to raise awareness, celebrate, and honor trans lives and experiences across the country.
Here in Massachusetts, the month started strong with an amazing turn out in North Andover for “Meet your Transgender Neighbor.” Over 140 people came out for a panel discussion, hosted by MTPC Steering Committee clerk Michelle Tat. Events like these are essential to raising awareness for trans lives in our communities.
This week there are dozens of events in honor of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. These events are important reminders of the violence our community faces due to anti-trans bias and discrimination. 2017 has proven to be another of the deadliest years on record for trans people. As with previous years, the intersections of racism, sexism, and transphobia are horrifically over represented in the list of those who have been taken from us. We must understand and address sexism and racism in our communities if we hope to see these numbers of deaths decrease in the future. This year we honor the lives of those who have been taken from us:
Murdered December 19, 2016
29 Years Old
Newport News, Virginia
Murdered January 4, 2017
41 Years Old
Executed January 6, 2017
23 Years Old
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow
Found Murdered on January 6, 2017
28 Years Old
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Murdered on February 8, 2017
23 Years Old
Murdered on February 19, 2017
18 Years Old
Tiara Richmond (aka Keke Collier)
Murdered on February 21, 2017
24 Years Old
Chyna Doll Dupree (aka Chyna Gibson)
Murdered on February 25, 2017
31 Years Old
New Orleans, Louisiana
Murdered on February 27, 2017
25 Years Old
New Orleans, Louisiana
Murdered on March 22, 2017
38 Years Old
Murdered on March 8, 2017
27 Years Old
San Antonio, Texas
Murdered on March 21, 2017
28 Years Old
Murdered on April 4, 2017
49 Years Old
New York CIty, New York
Murdered on May 16, 2017
46 Years Old
Charlotte, North Carolina
Kendra Marie Adams (Josie Barrios)
Found Murdered on June 13, 2017
28 Years Old
Ithaca, New York
Ava Le’Ray Barrin
Murdered on June 25, 2017
17 Years Old
Murdered on July 2, 2017
28 Years Old
Murdered on July 31, 2017
32 Years Old
Murdered on July 8,2017
29 Years Old
Gwynevere River Song
Murdered on August 8, 2017
26 Years old
Executed on August 22, 2017
30 Years Old
St. Louis, Illinois
Kashmire Nazier Redd
Murdered on September 4, 2017
28 Years Old
Gates, New York
Found Murdered on September 3, 2017
17 Years Old
Texas County, Missouri
Murdered on September 12, 2017
26 Years Old
Charlotte, North Carolina
Executed on September 16, 2017
21 Years Old
Murdered on October 21, 2017
47 Years Old
Corpus Christi, Texas
Murdered on October 28, 2017
30 Years Old
Rest in power.
For more information and photos of those taken from us visit: http://www.transnetworking.com/tdor2017_list/
Below are MTPC’s public remarks on the passing of the Equal Access Bill in the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a wide (veto-proof!) margin on June 1, 2016. The bill has already passed in the Senate.
My name is Mason Dunn. I am a transgender man, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts.
Today’s victory is a long-awaited and important affirmation from our lawmakers that transgender people are valued and welcome in our Commonwealth. Not only that, but today’s vote is an inspirational way to start June, National LGBTQ Pride Month. Happy Pride!
The protections that have passed today have been pending on Beacon Hill for nearly ten years. During that time, hundreds of transgender people have bravely come forward to tell their stories and personal experiences with discrimination. I am humbled by the time and effort the transgender community and our allies have put in to get us here today. You have shown up, time and time again, to tell your stories and to be an integral part of this process. Lawmakers heard us, and they see transgender people for who we truly are — human beings, worthy of respect and deserving of basic human rights.
We are so grateful to our tireless advocates in the House: Speaker DeLeo; Chairman Fernandes; and Representative Rushing and Representative Provost, the bill’s lead sponsors. They have shown persistent and determined leadership, without which we would not be here today. We are thankful to them for their unwavering commitment to moving this bill forward and working diligently over the past months to be sure legislators did the right thing.
Today is a triumph for Massachusetts’s reputation as a leader on equality and as a beacon of freedom for everyone. We look forward to seeing this bill arrive at Governor Baker’s desk, and we eagerly await his signature. It’s time for equality for everyone in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is dismayed by Governor Charlie Baker’s failure to substantively address the transgender nondiscrimination legislation in his statements at the Boston Spirit Executive Networking event last night.
In his statements, Baker reiterated his well-trod position, saying, “if and when the bill gets to my desk I will make sure to talk to all parties involved before we make any decisions.” He once again avoided addressing whether he would sign the bill.
MTPC Executive Director, Mason Dunn, had this to say in response:
“Governor Baker’s statements neglected to express any sincere support for transgender rights in Massachusetts. Baker fails to comprehend the human rights issues that are in question. Transgender people deserve fair and equal access under law to public spaces such as hotels, restaurants, public transportation, hospitals, and so much more. Gov. Baker’s continued avoidance of support for this legislation is an avoidance of support for the rights and dignity of his transgender constituents in the Commonwealth.”
Michelle Tat, an MTPC Steering Committee member, had this to say:
“I remain disappointed that Governor Baker continues to dodge and avoid questions regarding his support of the bill. At this point, his behavior does not simply reflect ignorance. Rather, his attitude and public statements around the public access bill reflects his sheer indifference to the lives of those in the transgender community.”
During Baker’s statements, transgender community members and allies spoke out when it became apparent that he would not address his position on the legislation. The frustration, disappointment, and anger voiced last night is a direct result of the delay in passing legislation that will impact the lives of thousands of transgender people in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition stands in solidarity with the community members who led the cry for action.
Tonight, MTPC is excited to host their event, Professionals for Transgender Rights, to celebrate businesses and professionals working for transgender equality. The event begins at 6pm at Monroe in Cambridge. For more information visit: MassTPC.org/PTR