Bill to Ensure Full Protections for Transgender People in Massachusetts Clears Key Committee

By Adam Polaski • May 2, 2016 • 3:41 pm
This morning, May 2, the Massachusetts Joint Judiciary Committee voted in favor of advancing SB 735/HB 1577, the transgender protections bill that has been pending for months in the Massachusetts legislature. The  bipartisan move clears the bill through its first hurdle, the first step on the bill since a judiciary hearing in October 2015.  The bill would update Massachusetts state law to ensure explicit protections for transgender people in public spaces – including restaurants, hospitals, parks, and public restrooms.
Kasey Suffredini, Chief Program Officer of Freedom for All Americans and co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts, said today:
It’s extremely gratifying to see the transgender protections bill heading toward passage. For nearly ten years, transgender youth and adults, and their families, colleagues, and neighbors, have shared their stories about who they are, the discrimination they face, and why they need these protections. Today’s bipartisan vote to report this bill favorably out of committee is a testament to the importance this campaign has placed on transgender visibility, personal stories, and public education. As the bill moves closer now toward final passage, we will continue educating and working with legislators to provide full protections for the transgender community as soon as possible.”

Two Republicans, Sen. Richard Ross of Wrentham and Rep. Sheila Harrington of Groton, both voted in favor of versions of the bill. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg recently announced that the Massachusetts Senate is tentatively scheduled to debate the legislation on May 12.

The vote in the committee today comes just as the city of Boston becomes the fourth municipality ever in the United States to fly the transgender flag at City Hall. Senate President Rosenberg, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston City Council President Michelle Wu, and other elected officials and members of the transgender community held the ceremony and flag raising in support of the bill. The transgender flag has been flown in only a handful of jurisdictions throughout the world, primarily in Canada and the U.S, and generally for the purposes of Pride parades. The flag in Boston will be displayed at City Hall on and off until the bill is signed into law.

Freedom for All Americans is proud to serve as a founding partner of Freedom Massachusetts, dedicating Kasey Suffredini as a chair to the campaign for the past year. Under Suffredini’s strategy and leadership, Freedom Massachusetts has recruited and secured endorsements from more than 250 businesses, every major professional sports team in New England, the state’s leading law enforcement associations, 16 women’s and victim’s advocacy groups, more than 350 clergy and congregations, the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation, the state attorney general, bipartisan leadership in the House and Senate, public endorsements from both the Senate President and the House Speaker, and more.

Learn more about Freedom Massachusetts here.

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