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Posted by: | Posted on: January 31, 2014

MTPC Responds to the Appeal of Transgender Prisoner Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mason Dunn
Executive Director
617-778-0519

Boston, MA – The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is disappointed to learn that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections will appeal the recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision concerning Michelle Kosilek’s access to medically necessary gender reassignment surgery while in prison.

“This is a matter of not only transgender rights, but Constitutional rights as well,” said Mason Dunn, Executive Director of MTPC. “No prisoner should be denied access to medically necessary treatment on the basis of their gender identity.”

This will be the state’s second appeal in this matter. A three judge panel with First Circuit Court of Appeals released a decision earlier this month affirming that Michelle has a right to access medically necessary care while in prison. The DOC now appeals to the full First Circuit court.

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The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.

Posted by: | Posted on: December 17, 2013

“Shelter for all Genders” Report Released

Shelter imageThe Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), is pleased to announce the release of “Shelter for All Genders: Best Practices for Homeless Shelters, Services and Programs in Massachusetts in Serving Transgender Adults and Gender Non-Conforming Guests.” This guide provides recommendations to agencies working with transgender and gender nonconforming persons in emergency and transitional shelters or services throughout the Commonwealth.

“Transgender and gender non-conforming people experience overwhelming levels of harassment and discrimination in shelters,” said Mason Dunn, MTPC’s executive director. “This guide aims to give shelters and programs the tools they need to become inclusive spaces for transgender individuals.”

In 2011 the Massachusetts legislature passed “An Act Relative to Gender Identity,” which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, education, credit/lending and housing. The recommendations contained in this new guide offer shelters suggestions for how to conform to the 2011 law, with respect to housing.

“Studies show that nearly 20% of transgender people experience homelessness at some point in their lives due to transgender-related discrimination,” said Nancy Nangeroni, chair of the MTPC Steering Committee. “Shelters and services should take steps to ensure they conform to the housing nondiscrimination laws, and support the integrity of all people.”

Along with this guide, MTPC is launching a story share initiative, to collect information about current shelter conditions experienced by transgender people in Massachusetts.

Click here to read the report and learn more about the story share initiative.

Posted by: | Posted on: August 2, 2013

MTPC & Fenway Health launch trans* needs assessment

ProjectVOICE-1000x550

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and Fenway Health have collaborated on a needs assessment to gather information about the health and well-being of Massachusetts’s transgender and gender-nonconforming adults, a population that has long been underserved. The 20-minute survey, entitled Project VOICE: Voicing Our Individual and Community Experiences, is available online and will be administered in-person at community organizations throughout Massachusetts this fall.

Funded by the Herman and Frieda L. Miller Foundation, the needs assessment is an effort by MTPC and Fenway Health to assess the experiences of transgender and gender conforming residents of Massachusetts in the wake of the passage of H. 810, an “Act Relative to Gender Identity,” which legally took effect on July 1, 2012. Also known as the Transgender Equal Rights Law, the law protects Massachusetts residents against gender identity discrimination in housing, credit, education and employment. While the passage of the Transgender Equal Rights Law was a huge coup for transgender and gender-nonconforming residents of Massachusetts and MTPC, who spearheaded the historic act, the bill failed to extend protections in public accommodations for gender identity. Now, a year after the legislation took effect, MTPC and Fenway Health have teamed up to examine the social stressors influencing health–including discrimination–among transgender and gender-nonconforming people in Massachusetts.

Offered in both English and Spanish, the 20-minute survey is expected to yield robust data that can be used to inform programs and policies that help to create better opportunities, address stressors such as discrimination, and improve the health and wellbeing of transgender and gender nonconforming people across Massachusetts. Dr. Sari Reisner, Research Scientist at The Fenway Institute, says: “Project Voice is an exciting opportunity to work with and engage trans communities in Massachusetts. It is a chance to understand more about the health, well-being, and past and current experiences of stress that we as trans and gender-nonconforming people face. Information from the project will help ensure public health efforts are grounded in the lived realities and needs of our community.”

To participate and/or learn more about the survey, please visit: thefenwayinstitute.org/research/voice.

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For more than forty years, Fenway Health has been working to make life healthier for the people in our neighborhood, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS and the broader population.  The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health is an interdisciplinary center for research, training, education and policy development focusing on national and international health issues. Fenway’s Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center cares for youth and young adults ages 12 to 29 who may not feel comfortable going anywhere else, including those who are LGBT or just figuring things out; homeless or living on the streets; struggling with substance use or abuse; sex workers; or living with HIV/AIDS.

Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is a 501(c)(3) that works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC educates the public; advocates with state, local, and federal government; engages in activism; and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC is a member of the Trans Advocacy Network, the Equality Federation, and the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition.

Posted by: | Posted on: July 24, 2013

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition Announces New Executive Director, Mason Dunn

Mason-photo

Nancy Nangeroni, Chair of the Steering Committee, has announced the appointment of Mason Dunn as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, effective August 8, 2013.

Dunn brings ten years of experience in LGBT coalition, organization and community, much of it as a transgender community organizer and leader. A recent graduate from the University of New Hampshire School of Law, he comes to MTPC from the NH Civil Liberties Union, where he worked on a fellowship and filled a variety of roles, including communications, policy and research. He most recently served on the Steering Committee for Transgender New Hampshire, and as an adjunct faculty member at UNH Manchester in the Communication Arts department, teaching a course on LGBTQ Images and Perspectives. Prior to law school Dunn worked on the Board of Directors of TransMentors International, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring in the transgender community.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mason, who for many years has committed himself to advocacy on behalf of transgender issues and community,” Nangeroni said. “He brings excellent skills along with a demonstrated dedication to the principles embodied in MTPC’s mission and values. He is the right person to lead our organization as we grow further in fulfillment of the increasingly recognized needs of our underserved community.”

MTPC Vice-Chair Maxwell Ng added, “I’m excited to work with Mason because of the energy and vision he brings to our organization. It’s an exciting time to be involved with MTPC.”

“I am honored to have been selected as the next leader for MTPC, and I’m looking forward to working in this amazing community,” Dunn said. “The Massachusetts trans* movement has seen astonishing progress over the past few years thanks to MTPC, yet we have a long way to go in achieving full equality for our community.”

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Founded in 2001, MTPC is dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression. The organization works to educate the public about transgender identities, advocates in state and local governments and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action.

Posted by: | Posted on: June 20, 2013

MTPC Commends Social Security Administration on Dropping Surgery Requirement for Gender Marker Change

Boston, MA [6/20/2013] — The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is pleased to report that effective June 13 the Social Security Administration no longer requires an individual to undergo surgery to have the gender marker changed in SSA records.

The SSA will now accept “medical certification of appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition in the form of an original signed statement from a licensed physician” as proof when submitting the change request form. Prior to this policy change, the medical certification specified completing surgery.

“With this Social Security policy, the federal government is acknowledging that important gender-related medical decisions should be made by individuals and their doctors,” said Jesse Begenyi, interim director of MTPC.

This new SSA policy reflects that the current standard of care for transgender individuals no longer requires surgery as part of gender transition. In fact, at its annual meeting this week, the American Medical Association passed a resolution in support of US jurisdictions changing the gender marker on birth certificates for transgender individuals based upon “verification by a physician that the individual has undergone transition according to applicable medical standards of care.”

“Surgery is not financially feasible, desirable or medically appropriate for some individuals, so that has been a permanent roadblock for many transgender people in getting their records changed,” Begenyi said.

Many government agencies and companies access Social Security data for verification purposes, so the new policy ensures that medical history remains confidential except when disclosure is necessary for the health and safety of the individual.

The National Center for Transgender Equality has released “Transgender People and the Social Security Administration,” a resource to help transgender people across the country to understand and take advantage of the new Social Security policy. This resource, which includes the wording physicians should use for their medical certification letters, is available at http://transequality.org/Resources/SSAResource_June2013.pdf. MTPC’s website is also being updated to reflect the change.

“MTPC is grateful to NCTE, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Lesbian Rights for their dedication over the past seven years to secure this important Social Security policy change,” Begenyi said.

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Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is a 501(c)(3) that works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC educates the public; advocates with state, local, and federal government; engages in activism; and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC is a member of the Trans Advocacy Network, the Equality Federation, and the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition.

Posted by: | Posted on: June 11, 2013

New BPD Transgender Guidelines

Contact: Jesse Begenyi
jesseb@masstpc.org
617-778-0519

Boston Police Department Issues Guidelines for Interactions with Transgender Individuals 

 

Boston, MA [6/11/2013] — On June 4, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis issued SO 13-025, a Special Order outlining department guidelines for police contact with transgender individuals.

The Special Order states: “The policy of the Boston Police Department is to treat all individuals with dignity, respect, and professionalism. Officers shall at all times abide by Boston Police Department Rule 102 §9 (Respectful Treatment), as well as the City of Boston Office of Human Resources’ ‘Guidelines to Prevent Gender Identity Discrimination’ when interacting with transgender individuals.”

The order defines terms including “transgender,” “gender identity” and “gender expression” and states that the police should use the name and pronouns the transgender individual prefers; that search or frisk shall not be performed for the sole purpose of determining an individual’s anatomical sex; and that officers may not fail to respond to a call for service based on the gender identity or expression of the caller.

As part of the new guidelines, a Statement of Search Preference Form allows transgender individuals to request a female or a male police officer to conduct their searches.

Jesse Begenyi, Interim Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, commended the Boston Police Department for taking this important step to help make interactions between the police and members of the transgender community much safer.

“MTPC thanks Commissioner Davis, BPD LGBT liaison Javier Pagan, former MTPC executive director Gunner Scott, and everyone who worked to draft and implement this important policy,” Begenyi said. “We hope police departments statewide will adopt similar policies.”

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Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is a 501(c)(3) that works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC educates the public; advocates with state, local, and federal government; engages in activism; and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action. MTPC is a member of the Trans Advocacy Network, the Equality Federation, and the Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition.