Tracking Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s Change of Heart on Transgender Protections

By Hannah Willard • November 7, 2018 • 12:29 pm

Massachusetts’ Republican Governor Charlie Baker went on a personal journey from opposing transgender rights to full support, even making a personal donation to the campaign working to uphold those protections at the ballot.

In 2016, Governor Baker signed a law providing protections for transgender people in Massachusetts in public spaces like restaurants, shops, and doctors’ offices. He credited years of “conversations with a lot of people on both sides of the issue” for his eventual support of the bill, and later announced his support for Question 3 to uphold those protections at the ballot in an op-ed in New England’s largest LGBT newspaper, The Rainbow Times.

“I am troubled that some who oppose this law have organized an effort to repeal it,” he wrote. “While I support the ballot initiative process, I strongly believe that the Commonwealth should reject the repeal effort. I look forward to voting ‘Yes’ on Question 3, to uphold the law at the ballot box this fall. I am confident that voters will join me, to re-affirm that the Commonwealth will not tolerate discrimination against our fellow citizens who are transgender.”

Governor Baker’s journey is a perfect example of the power of human connection, and of the inefficacy of our opponents’ fear-mongering. He even personally donated $500 to the Yes on 3 campaign, and was a stalwart supporter that helped carry the Yes On 3 campaign to victory in 2018. Baker was rated the most popular governor in the country in 2017 and won reelection by a landslide. Republican elected officials can do the right thing without political cost, and their examples give us powerful momentum as we continue building bipartisan support at the state and federal level.

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