Lexington delegation stands up for transgender equal rights

BOSTON, MA – On May 15, Representative Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington), Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington), and Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) raised their voices in support of transgender equal rights in the wake of the recent decision to allow a question onto the November 2018 ballot that would repeal equal protections and civil liberties for transgender individuals in Massachusetts.

With Pride month on the horizon, elected members of the Lexington delegation are making it clear that bigotry and hatred toward the LGBTQ community is not acceptable in the state of Massachusetts.

“It is disconcerting that a question to sanction discrimination will be on the ballot in the fall. This vile proposition has no place in a decent society. I am very proud of my votes to legalize equal marriage and to protect the rights of those in the LBGTQ community.  I am confident that we, the citizens of the Commonwealth, will vote overwhelmingly against bigotry, and I urge each of us to do all we can to take a stand against this measure in November,” said Representative Kaufman.

Up until the summer of 2016, transgender people could be turned away from a hotel, denied service at a restaurant, or kicked off of a bus—simply because of who they are. Signed into law on July 8, 2016, the Transgender Public Accommodations Law allows individuals to use facilities corresponding to their gender identity, and bans discrimination on the basis of gender identity, in any public accommodation, including bathrooms, department stores, restaurants, gas stations, parks, and trains.

“All people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religious identity, should be given equal protection under the law in Massachusetts,” said Senator Friedman. “At a time when our country is more divisive than ever, we must remain firm in our commitment to defending the rights and well-being of all people in our communities, especially those who have been marginalized. As a strong ally of the LGBTQ community, I will continue to stand strong against hate and discrimination in our Commonwealth by casting my vote this November to protect transgender individuals and preserve our anti-discrimination laws.”

“In 1989, I was the chief Senate sponsor of the very first civil rights bill in Massachusetts to prohibit discrimination in housing and jobs on the basis of sexual orientation. How distressing and disappointing that we now have to fight to preserve the same protections for transgender people. We’ll prevail in the end, even though the path to justice is sometimes rocky,” said Senator Barrett.

A “yes” vote on this measure supports upholding the Transgender Public Accommodations Law, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public places. A “no” vote on this measure opposes this law and supports overturning it.

In addition to local officials, a variety of organizations have expressed their strong opposition to the November question to repeal the Transgender Public Accommodations Law, including law enforcement organizations, educational organizations, businesses, and sports leagues. For a full listing of these varied supporting groups, visit Freedom for all Massachusetts.