Boston, MA – [1/11/10] – The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition has declared Thursday, January 21, 2010 “Transgender Equality Lobby Day” in of support legal protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people in the state of Massachusetts. Transgender people, as well as friends, family, significant others and all supporters of equal rights are invited to come to the Massachusetts State House on that day to speak to their legislators about the H1728/S1687 “An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes” bill.
The bill, which has been introduced in the House by Rep. Carl Sciortino and Rep. Byron Rushing, and in the Senate by Sen. Ben Downing, and has been co-sponsored by over a hundred other legislators, a majority in the House and Senate. This bill would add the categories of gender identity and gender expression to the state’s non-discrimination and hate crimes laws.
Nationwide, 13 states, Washington D.C., and at least 112 counties and cities have passed legislation to ban this type of discrimination in their communities — including Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Amherst.
“Current laws in Massachusetts only protect civil rights based on sexual orientation, not gender identity. State legislators have the opportunity to correct this. The Transgender Civil Rights Bill (H.1728/S1687) would add gender identity to our hate crimes and non-discrimination statutes. This bill is a necessary complement to the federal protections given under the recently signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and would ensure our state laws provide equal protections to our transgender neighbors” said House Rep. Carl Sciortino.
“Transgender Equality Lobby Day reminds advocates and legislators alike to refocus on this bill and the housing, employment, education, and credit protections it provides,” added Senator Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield).
“With this bill, the state could hold employers and housing managers accountable by making the law clear and upfront that discrimination will not be tolerated based on gender identity and gender expression,” said MTPC’s Executive Director Gunner Scott.
“As was seen in the recently released survey from the MA Department of Public Health on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender versus non transgender heterosexual counterparts, the health of the transgender community is worse than then all others surveyed, and unfortunately, this is often due to the impact of discrimination. Discrimination affects all parts of our lives,” said MTPC’s Steering Committee Chair Nancy Nangeroni.
The preliminary results from the 2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, administered by the National Center for Transgender Rights and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, found 26% of transgender people have lost their job due to their gender identity or expression and that 97% of transgender people report being harassed or mistreated at work. In the Greater Boston area, a 2006 survey found that fewer than 25% of transgender women were employed full-time; only 20% held part-time employment, and 55% had been homeless at some point.
Transgender Equality Lobby Day will begin at 2 pm in Nurses Hall of the Massachusetts State House with speeches given by Legislators and community members who will be positively impacted by the bills passage. There will also be a brief training on how to lobby legislators by Arline Isaacson of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. Coffee and light refreshments will be served. People will then be directed to the offices of their legislators to ask them to support “An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination And Hate Crimes”. Attendees are encouraged to schedule appointments with their legislators for Jan. 21, and find out who their legislators are at http://www.wheredoivotema.com.
For additional information on the Transgender Equality Lobby Day, “An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination And Hate Crimes”, or how to get involved, please contact Raffi Freedman-Gurspan at (617) 778-0519 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.masstpc.org.
About MTPC: The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC works for a world where persons of all genders are treated with respect and fully participate in all areas of society, free from fear of prohibition, harassment or violence based on their gender identity and/or expression. Its members educate the public, advocate with state, local, and federal government, engage in political activism, and encourage empowerment of community members through collective action.