MTPC Declares Lobby Day for Transgender Equality January 21, 2010
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) has declared Thursday, January 21, 2010 "Transgender Equality Lobby Day" in support of legal protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people in the state of Massachusetts. MTPC is inviting all state residents who support equal rights to speak to their legislators about "An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes" bill.
"An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes" (H. 1728/S. 1687) got a hearing last July in the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Then, nothing. In light of the recent poll showing that 76% of Massachusetts voters, including 81% of women, support passing a law, isn't it high time that the bill got moved out of committee and passed by the legislature?
The bill, which has been introduced in the House by Rep. Carl Sciortino and Rep. Byron Rushing, and in the Senate by Sen. Ben Downing, and has been co-sponsored by over a hundred other legislators, a majority in the House and Senate. This bill would add the categories of gender identity and gender expression to the state’s non-discrimination and hate crimes laws.
Nationwide, 13 states, Washington D.C., and at least 112 counties and cities have passed legislation to ban this type of discrimination in their communities — including Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Amherst.
“Current laws in Massachusetts only protect civil rights based on sexual orientation, not gender identity. State legislators have the opportunity to correct this. The Transgender Civil Rights Bill (H.1728/S1687) would add gender identity to our hate crimes and non-discrimination statutes. This bill is a necessary complement to the federal protections given under the recently signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and would ensure our state laws provide equal protections to our transgender neighbors” said House Rep. Carl Sciortino.
“Transgender Equality Lobby Day reminds advocates and legislators alike to refocus on this bill and the housing, employment, education, and credit protections it provides,” added Senator Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield).
“With this bill, the state could hold employers and housing managers accountable by making the law clear and upfront that discrimination will not be tolerated based on gender identity and gender expression,” said MTPC’s Executive Director Gunner Scott.