Four years ago, Massachusetts implemented anti-discrimination protections in employment, housing, education, and credit for transgender people. But those protections were not guaranteed in places of public accommodation, like restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums, buses and trains, or hospitals. That means, under our current law, a transgender person cannot be denied employment at a restaurant on account of their gender identity, but can be refused service at that same restaurant.
We know there is a real need for these protections. A 2014 survey found that 65% of transgender people living in Massachusetts report having experienced discrimination in a public place. Unfortunately, threats and violence against transgender people are also far too common.
On July 8, 2016, H1577/S735, An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination, was signed into law making it illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of gender identity. In October, Attorney General Healey was joined by Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley and Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans to testify in support of the legislation. The bill enjoys broad support from the business community, all of our professional sports teams, and state and local leaders. Across the country, 17 states and more than 200 cities and towns have already implemented these protective laws.
The bill also enjoys the support of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs and the police departments of each of the 13 cities and towns file size 4MB in Massachusetts that already have these protections in place: Amherst, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Lynn, Medford, Melrose, Newton, Northampton, Salem, Somerville, Swampscott, and Worcester.
Massachusetts has made it clear that discrimination has no place in our state. We have made #EveryoneWelcome in Massachusetts.
Effective October 1, 2016, Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in places of public accommodation. Attorney General Maura Healey issued guidance on the implementation of this law on September 1, 2016.
The Honorable Stanley Rosenberg
State House, Room 332
Boston, MA 02133
The Honorable Robert DeLeo
Speaker of the House
State House, Room 356
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Senate President Rosenberg and Speaker DeLeo,
We write to urge the Massachusetts Legislature to take a favorable vote now on H1577/S735, An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination.
Four years ago, Massachusetts banned discrimination against transgender people in employment, housing, education, and credit. It is time to finish that work and ensure that transgender people are also protected from discrimination in public places. Transgender people should be able to ride a bus, go to a movie, or visit a restaurant without fear of harassment or unequal treatment.
Transgender employees and customers deserve to feel safe and welcome in Massachusetts. They deserve dignity and respect. The widespread national outrage over the discriminatory laws recently signed in North Carolina and Mississippi, as well as a legislative proposal passed in Georgia, demonstrates the strong support for full LGBT equality among both the business community and the broader public.
Promoting equality is not just the right thing to do – it is also good for business. Discriminatory laws make it harder for companies and regions to recruit talented employees, attract customers, and build a thriving economy. That is why more than 200 companies have endorsed this bill.
We are proud to stand with the transgender community, and we urge you to stand with us.
Alliance for Business Leadership
Ashia Ray Photography
Au Bon Pain
Bella Luna Restaurant/Milky Way Lounge
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Boston Community Capital
Burns & Levinson LLP
Cambridge Eats and Beats
Cambridge Innovation Center
The Coca-Cola Company
Dedham Medical Associates
Delta Dental of Massachusetts
Glove Cleaners Inc.
Gonzalez & Associates, PC
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare
Lesser Newman Aleo and Nasser LLP
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Loring, Wolcott & Coolidge
Massachusetts Association of Health Plans
Massachusetts Business Roundtable
Massachusetts Nurses Association
Massachusetts Restaurant Association
MassMutual Financial Group
Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association
New England Venture Capital Association
Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce
Pine Village Preschool
Rockland Trust Company
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Visiting Angels of Newton and Canton
We have a chance right now to send a positive message of inclusion and equality in Massachusetts. Children like Jacob and Ella should grow up feeling safe and supported in their community. Join our social media campaign to urge the passage of this critical civil rights legislation..
Share a post on Facebook or tweet a video, a photo, or a simple statement of support using the hashtag #EveryoneWelcome.
Jeffrey Tambor and the cast of Transparent, Kathy Griffin, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Bruins, and the Celtics all agree – it’s time to make #EveryoneWelcome in Massachusetts. Check out all of the folks who have already joined on Twitter (@MassAGO) and Facebook.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2016
BOSTON – Rallying in support of the transgender community in Massachusetts, 43 businesses have joined Attorney General Maura Healey in urging the Legislature to take a favorable vote on legislation that prohibits discrimination against transgender people.
The letter , joined by businesses including Google, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, Suffolk Construction, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association and MassBIO, was sent today to the Legislature in support of an Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination.
“This is a simple bill that will make a significant impact on the lives of transgender people. The business community has long known that anti-discrimination policies aren’t just good for people, they’re good for business,” AG Healey said. “We thank these companies for making the message clear: transgender people deserve to feel safe and welcome in Massachusetts.”
The AG also thanked Senate President Stan Rosenberg for his commitment to advancing the legislation in the coming weeks.
In 2012, Massachusetts adopted a transgender rights law that prohibits certain types of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including discrimination in employment, education and housing. The law, however, does not explicitly address the obligations of businesses and other public places when interacting with transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.
According to the letter, widespread national outrage in response to the discriminatory laws signed recently in North Carolina and Mississippi, as well as a legislative proposal passed in Georgia, demonstrates the strong support for full LGBT equality among both the business community and the broader public.
Today, the public accommodations bill (Senate Bill 735 and House Bill 1577) has broad, bipartisan support from the business community, educators, faith leaders, police chiefs, mayors, all our professional Boston sports teams, and many others in state and federal government.
AG Healey continues to work closely with advocates to garner support for the bill and build momentum for Massachusetts to join the ranks of 17 other states that already offer these protections. According to a 2013 survey by the Fenway Institute at Fenway Health and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, in Massachusetts, 65 percent of transgender people report having experienced discrimination in a public place.
In October, AG Healey testified in support of the legislation and submitted a letter advocating for its passage. Last month, the AG’s Office launched the #EveryoneWelcome social media campaign, featuring short video messages from celebrity allies of the transgender community and families from across Massachusetts.
To add your business to the letter, please e-mail Margie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on AG Healey’s efforts to promote transgender equality in Massachusetts, the #EveryoneWelcome campaign, and a full list of businesses that joined today’s letter, visit the AG’s website at www.mass.gov/ago/everyonewelcome.