PHOTOS: Massachusetts Leaders & Community Members Testify for Transgender Protections in MA HearingBy Adam Polaski • October 7, 2015 • 10:50 am
Yesterday, October 6, leaders and community members from across the state of Massachusetts stood before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in the Massachusetts Legislature to testify in support of S.B. 735 and H.B. 1577, “An Act Relative to Transgender Discrimination.” The legislation seeks to update Massachusetts’ non-discrimination laws to explicitly include transgender people in existing laws prohibiting public accommodations discrimination. Check out photos and tweets from the big hearing below (Photos by Hurley Event Photography, courtesy of Freedom Massachusetts):
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey took the stand first. As the state’s top attorney, she made the case for why the state’s non-discrimination law must be updated to include transgender Bay Staters. “Look,” she said, “If we don’t grant these protections to transgender people, I believe that we are sending a message that we, as a state, don’t fully accept them.”
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) October 6, 2015
Congressman Joe Kennedy III delivered moving testimony, too, discussing the upcoming birth of his first daughter in just a few months. He said, “We can’t always keep the people we care about from pain– no matter the force of our will or depth of our love. But we can do everything in our power to ensure they live in a world that accepts and embraces whatever bright, strong, unique individuals they turn out to be. That’s the world I want for my daughter. And that is ALL that the families sitting next to me today are asking for. The chance to raise their kids, to grow up, to grow old, in a country that promises them the same decency and tolerance the rest of us may take for granted.” You can read Congressman Kennedy’s full testimony here.
Later in the day, Freedom for All Americans’ Chief Program Officer Kasey Suffredini, who serves as a co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts, shared his story about coming out as transgender in Massachusetts, where sufficient protections don’t exist. “When Massachusetts became the first marriage equality state in 2004, it was the first time in my life I felt like the government had my back. After coming to terms with being transgender, I’m now asking Boston legislators to have my back again,” he said.
Dozens of other Bay Staters testified in support the legislation. Among those taking strong stances for protecting ALL Massachusetts residents: Karen Young of Harvard Pilgrim Group (one of the founding business partners of Freedom Massachusetts); Nancy Steger with Eastern Bank (one of 150+ businesses that support the legislation); Kim Dougherty of the Women’s Bar Association; Stan Zanarotti of MassEquality; Mason Dunn of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition; Jennifer Levi of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; and many transgender Bay Staters – and the people who support them.
Learn more by getting connected with Freedom Massachusetts. Freedom for All Americans is proud to serve as part of the executive committee of the campaign, providing support through communications outreach, digital strategy, lobbying, and staffing campaign leadership roles, and see more photos below. Photos by Hurley Event Photography: