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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
Like it was for many of you, yesterday was disappointing for me. I had hoped that lawmakers would move on the public accommodations nondiscrimination legislation, and when they didn’t, I was sad and frustrated. We all know how important this bill is to our community. And not only did our legislation get held up this week – other important bills are still waiting to be heard, including legislation on racial profiling, women’s rights, and criminal justice reform.
But today, I woke up with renewed hope. We are still in this, and we are here to win. Although lawmakers did not take up our bill, there is amazing momentum in the State House. And I believe this momentum will propel us into 2016.
The House Speaker, Representative DeLeo, has come out in support for the first time since we began this campaign. His support, coupled with the support of Senate President Rosenberg, means that State House leadership is unified behind us. And just yesterday the State House Black and Latino Caucus released a statement of support.
Let me be clear – this campaign is not over. We’re at a halftime; a chance to regroup, strengthen our campaign. But we need your help. Throughout December, we ask that you keep calling your legislators, and work to get meetings in their districts. Keep up the pressure, so that when they come back from recess, legislators know that the time is now. We need your help, and together we can continue this fight!
Mason J. Dunn
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.
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.
We hope to see you there!