Boston City Council Passes Resolution in Favor of Full Transgender Non-Discrimination Protections

By Megan Clayton • March 24, 2016 • 1:28 pm

As lawmakers in North Carolina take egregious steps to criminalize transgender people, lawmakers in other parts of the country are advancing protections for transgender individuals.


Yesterday in a unanimous vote, the Boston City Council passed a resolution calling on state legislators to pass SB 735/HB 1577 and affirm the common human dignity and rights of transgender people. SB 735/HB 1577 would update Massachusetts’ non-discrimination laws to protect transgender Bay Staters in public places, including businesses, restaurants, hotels, and on public transportation.

Boston’s human rights ordinance has extended public accommodations protections to transgender people since 2002, and more than a dozen other Massachusetts municipalities also have such laws on the books. Massachusetts passed a statewide law prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2011, but the law did not include protections for transgender people in public accommodations. SB 735/HB 1577 would patch this protection gap.

Every Boston City Councilor spoke in favor of the resolution, including City Council President Michelle Wu, who said:

“I’m proud that Boston has led on the protection of transgender people for so long, but now is the time for the entire state of Massachusetts to stand behind these men and women. Basic protections and dignities should not be reserved for some people, they should be enjoyed by everyone. That’s exactly what this legislation does.”

Freedom for All Americans is proud to be working with Freedom Massachusetts to advance the public accommodations bill in Massachusetts and finally win full, comprehensive non-discrimination protections in the Bay State. Learn more about Freedom Massachusetts here.

Massachusetts’ efforts to ensure transgender Bay Staters are fully protected from discrimination stand in stark contrast to what happened in North Carolina yesterday. The General Assembly passed and Governor Pat McCrory signed HB2, whose ‘Gender Inspection’ clause bars transgender people in North Carolina from using the bathroom in public schools and government buildings that matches the gender they live as every day.

Boston’s resolution exemplifies what happens when communities and lawmakers take the time to understand who transgender people are and learn that they are friends and neighbors who deserve to feel welcome, safe and accepted. No one should be singled out, humiliated in public or refused service just because of who they are. Treating others the way we’d like to be treated is at the foundation of our society. That’s something that Bostonians and other Bay Staters clearly understand: Public support for SB 735/HB 1577 is stronger than ever and steadily growing.

As other legislatures across the country consider bills targeting transgender people, lawmakers should consider being more like Boston—consistently rated one of the top LGBT-friendly cities in one of the most LGBT-friendly states in the country—and not like North Carolina, which now stands on the wrong side of history and is quickly facing backlash over this extreme anti-LGBT law.

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