Mycroft Masada is a queer trans faith leader who moved to the Washington DC area of Maryland’s Montgomery County from their lifelong home of Boston in 2014. Mycroft co-chairs the MoCo Pride Center, is a TransFaith National Council member, a TransEpiscopal Steering Committee member and former Congregation Am Tikva board member. Mycroft is particularly called to pursue justice at the intersections of LGBTQI+ and fat communities, and is an advocate, organizer, consultant, educator, trainer, writer and artist. They are partnered with Julia McCrossin, the massculine fatshion blogger, and with her co-parents a dogter. Their central online home is MasadArts.blogspot.com.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My testimony re: Massachusetts' height & weight anti-discrimination bill


January 27, 2010

Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera
House Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House -- Room 39
Boston, MA 02133

Senator Thomas McGee
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House -- Room 112
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Representative Coakley-Rivera and Senator McGee --

My name is Mycroft Holmes, and I live and work in greater Boston, where I was born and have always lived. I love Massachusetts; it’s always been my home and I hope it always will be.

I’m an interfaith leader, and have been for almost twenty years. I’m a Co-Chair of the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE), the Acting Chair of the Training Working Group of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), and the Emeritus Founding Chair of the Transgender Working Group (TWiG) of Keshet. I’m also a member of Congregation Am Tikva and Saint Luke’s and Saint Margaret’s Episcopal Church.

I am writing to you in support of An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Weight And Height Unlawful -- House Bill 1850. This bill would amend current state laws prohibiting discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or ancestry -- by adding height and weight to the list of unlawful forms of discrimination.

My faiths teach that like Adam the first Earthling, all people are made btzelem Elohim, “in the image of God” – and this includes people of all heights and weights. All people, of all sizes and shapes, are created equal, and should be equally protected by the law.

In my own life and in my leadership roles, I have experienced, witnessed and researched a great deal of discrimination, especially in employment. Much of it has been based on physical appearance and information, particularly height and weight. This discrimination is wrong, terribly damaging to everyone involved, and occurs many times every day in every part of our state. It must be ended as soon as possible, and HB 1850 will help end it. The bill is also an important educational tool – its implementation process will help dispel the ignorance and misinformation about height and weight.

I won’t go into detail here, as you will be hearing expert testimony about these issues from several of my colleagues – they will provide ample evidence of the significant and urgent need for this legislative remedy. I will also be attending and testifying at today’s public hearing.

I will share just one story that illustrates why I support the passage of HB 1850 into law. My partner and I are both 5’6” tall. I’ve always been thin, she has always been fat; I weigh 130 pounds, she 300. Despite many years of discrimination and other mistreatment, much of it based on her weight, she remains happy and healthy – mentally and physically – and a good and productive citizen. She is a graduate teaching assistant in English and a published academic who is very active in her field. Soon, she will complete her dissertation, receive her PhD, and apply to teach at other universities. She volunteers for and otherwise supports several organizations, including a literacy center, is a member of two faith communities, and petsits for dogs and cats. She has been a tremendous blessing to her family, friends, colleagues, teachers, students, and all those who have been fortunate enough to know her, or indeed know of her.

She is a native and lifelong resident of Maryland; she now lives and works in Washington, DC, where height and weight are protected classes in the Human Rights Laws. She visits me here in Massachusetts every other month, and hopes to move here within the next few years. I want her to have full civil rights whenever she’s here. I want her to be able to continue to live, work and play as well if not better than she has done, contributing as much to my home state as to her own. I want this for all residents and visitors of Massachusetts. I don’t want anyone to experience discrimination – but if they do, I want them to be able to take appropriate action.

Thank you for your time. I hope that my testimony furthers your understanding of how much this bill is needed and how long overdue it is. It’s a vital next step towards a more socially just Massachusetts, and another way we can be a role model for the rest of the country. I urge you to do everything you can to pass An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Weight And Height Unlawful (HB 1850) this legislative session.

Sincerely,

Mycroft Holmes
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