New Campaign in Massachusetts Working to Secure Nondiscrimination Protections for Transgender Bay Staters

June 24, 2015 • 11:15 am

Freedom for All Americans proud to support efforts to update MA law extending gender identity protections to public accommodations

June 24, 2015 | Dan Rafter | [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Freedom for All Americans is supporting a new campaign launched today in Massachusetts that will work to update the state’s nondiscrimination law to include gender identity protections for public accommodations – the places all of us are when not at home, work or school. The campaign, Freedom Massachusetts, is receiving the backing of major businesses including Google, Eastern Bank and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, formerly served as Harvard Pilgrim’s CEO.

“Businesses like Google, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Eastern Bank support Freedom Massachusetts because they know comprehensive nondiscrimination protections are essential for both communities and corporations to thrive,” said Kasey Suffredini, with Freedom for All Americans and co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts. “Updating our law isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s something we have to do if we’re serious about ensuring Massachusetts can remain a competitive state where companies look to locate because of our access to the best and brightest talent.”

Google, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Eastern Bank all scored a 100 on the most recent Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign. The report is an annual review of corporate policies supportive and inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees. Nationally, nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500s have nondiscrimination policies in place for sexual orientation, while 66 percent have policies for gender identity. In Massachusetts, 83 percent of the state’s leading Fortune 500s have gender identity protections.

Twelve municipalities and the state’s public schools already have public accommodations protections for transgender people. An update to the state law is necessary so that a transgender person can feel safe regardless of what town or city they’re in.

“People spend so much time in these types of public spaces – shops, restaurants, parks,” added Suffredini. “No one should have to worry about whether they’ll face discrimination when they’re out with friends or loved ones. We have an opportunity right now to fix this omission in our state law, and we’re looking forward to amplifying the diversity of voices across Massachusetts who are standing with us.”

A recent national poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found strong support for measures that protect LGBT people from discrimination in a variety of areas, including public accommodations. Nearly 70 percent of Americans surveyed supported nondiscrimination protections, including 71 percent of Catholics and 65 percent of Republicans.

Freedom for All Americans is partnering with a  number of state and national organizations on the campaign, including the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, MassEquality, the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, BAGLY, the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, the Anti-Defamation League, PFLAG and the Human Rights Campaign.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign dedicated to ensuring every gay and transgender American is fully protected from discrimination under the law, no matter where they live. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses big and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally. 

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