Attorney General Healey Announces Effort to Support Transgender People Within the Attorney General's Office
Policy Affects Employees and Visitors; Addresses Discrimination, Facilities Use
BOSTON — In a continued effort to provide a respectful and welcoming environment to all those who interact with government, Attorney General Maura Healey today announced a policy to protect transgender and gender non-conforming individuals working for or interacting with the Attorney General’s Office.
The policy, which goes into effect immediately, prohibits discrimination against transgender or gender non-conforming individuals and makes clear their rights within the Attorney General’s offices.
“We are committed to creating a welcoming and respectful environment for everyone who interacts with our office – employees, volunteers, visitors, and members of the public,” AG Healey said. “This is about creating a culture in our office where everyone is treated equally.”
Nearly four years ago, Massachusetts adopted a transgender rights law that prohibits certain types of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including discrimination in employment and housing. However, the law does not explicitly address the obligations of places of business, including government offices, when interacting with transgender and gender non-conforming members of the public.
“This policy will make those obligations clear. I hope businesses across the state will follow suit, and my office is willing to be a resource for them,” AG Healey said. “These are also the kinds of protections that the Transgender Accommodations Bill would extend to all public places across the state, and that’s a piece of legislation I am strongly supporting.”
Specifically, the policy requires the following:
- In the discharging of his or her duties, no employee shall discriminate against or otherwise differently treat any person on the basis of his or her gender identity.
- To the extent known or declared, individuals working, volunteering, or visiting the Attorney General’s Office shall be referred to by the name, gender designation, and pronoun preferred by the individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned birth sex. An employee at the Office of the Attorney General shall not request documentation or other information to establish or verify an individual’s gender identity.
- While visiting the Office of the Attorney General, a member of the public is authorized to use the bathroom, or any other gender-segregated space, that corresponds with the person’s gender identity, regardless of the individual’s assigned birth sex
- Gender-based dress requirements shall not be imposed on any employee or on members of the public.
"MassEquality applauds Attorney General Maura Healey's concrete efforts to ensure inclusivity for transgender people - a group that has been marginalized and relegated to second-class status for far too long,” said Krina Patel, Director of Legislative and Political Affairs for MassEquality. “It is our sincere belief that this bold, new policy is another step forward in the fight for statewide legislation that will legally protect gender identity in public areas such as restaurants, coffee shops, health care facilities, gyms and public transportation. We hope that the Attorney General's new transgender rights policy will send a clear and concrete message that discrimination in any form is not acceptable in the Commonwealth."
"The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition applauds the Attorney General's comprehensive transgender rights policy,” said Mason J. Dunn, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition. “This policy change is extremely important as discrimination on the basis of gender identity in public spaces is not yet prohibited at the statewide level. The Attorney General's policy illustrates her continued dedication to inclusivity and equality for all Bay Staters. We hope that legislators in the Massachusetts State House will follow the Attorney General's example and act to pass pending legislation to prohibit discrimination in public spaces."
“Fairness is not only about freedom from discrimination, it's also about inclusion,” said Kasey Suffredini of Freedom For All Americans. “With this policy, Attorney General Healey has extended both to the transgender members of our Commonwealth. And she has continued to deliver on her promise of a nation-leading Attorney General's Office. I urge the Governor and the Legislature to work together to follow her example and ensure that transgender people are free from discrimination everywhere in our Commonwealth.”
“GLAD applauds the Attorney General for adopting this important policy that will make it easier for transgender people to transact business with the Commonwealth,” said Jennifer Levi, Director of the Transgender Rights Project of Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
AG Healey today also signaled her support for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s efforts to improve the climate for transgender people at City Hall. “I hope other employers across the state will join the Mayor and me in our shared commitment to equality,” AG Healey said.