House Bill 1722: An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes would add the category of “gender identity or expression” to Massachusetts’ non-discrimination and hate crime laws. It would protect ALL people from discrimination based on their gender identity or expression in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations, and public education.
This bill will also hold accountable those who perpetrate hate crimes because of a victim’s gender identity or expression.
Transgender people as well as others who do not conform to common expectations of “men’s” and “women’s” gender expression are subject to daily harassment and discrimination. Things many of us take for granted, such as obtaining jobs and housing, attending school, and visiting restaurants are difficult and dangerous for the transgender members of our community. Transgender people are often fired and assaulted. If passed, this bill will help secure basic civil rights for transgender people and all others.
I testified at the bill’s public hearing on March 4th. You can read my testimony at the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE) blog (and soon here at my site).
Yesterday, Thursday July 31st, was the last day of the Massachusetts legislative session. So at midnight, it became official that the bill would not leave study committee or therefore pass.
Even as we grieve, we continue our work, and the former inspires the latter. The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and its legislative sponsors will refile the bill in January, with a different number and perhaps name. The plan for between now and January is being discussed. When I know what I can share, I’ll let you know.
This law is so long overdue, and more desperately needed every day. Please join me in doing all that you can to help the bill pass into law.