New Study Finds Employment Discrimination against Transgender Residents of Massachusetts Costs the State Millions Annually
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gunner Scott: 617-778-0519
Kara Suffredini: 617-878-2300
May 11, 2011
BOSTON — A new research study released today by The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy shows that employment discrimination against transgender residents of Massachusetts likely costs the state millions of dollars each year. These costs are the result of reduced income tax revenue, expenditures on public assistance programs, and other costs related to an increased need for public assistance programs. The added cost to the Commonwealth for public health insurance coverage alone is $3 million annually due to employment discrimination against transgender workers.
“When transgender people experience employment discrimination, not only can that have a substantial negative impact on people’s lives, but it also affects the Commonwealth financially so all Massachusetts residents pay a price,” said study author Jody L. Herman, the Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute. “The legislature is making painful choices as it builds next year’s budget,” said Kara Suffredini, executive director of MassEquality. “This law would not cost the state a dime, but it could bring in millions of revenue and savings each year.”
“Employment discrimination erodes your dignity—and empties your pocketbook. When otherwise qualified people cannot find work solely because of who they are, the state loses money in lost tax revenues and increased expenditures on public programs such as MassHealth,” said Gunner Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender
In calculating the cost to the Commonwealth, the study estimates that 6,600 Massachusetts residents have lost a job, 12,900 were not hired for a job, and 5,600 were denied a promotion, all due to due to anti-transgender bias. Furthermore, 15 percent of surveyed transgender Massachusetts residents made $10,000 or less in annual household income, whereas only 3 percent of the Massachusetts general population made this amount.
Employment discrimination can lead to lost wages and the need to access public assistance programs to replace lost income and health insurance coverage. This study estimates that the Commonwealth may be losing millions in income tax revenues each year due to employment discrimination. In addition, the Commonwealth is spending nearly $3 million every year in public health insurance coverage for those who have lost jobs due to anti-transgender bias.
About the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition
The Transgender Equal Rights Coalition is working to pass “An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights.” (House Bill 502 and Senate Docket Number 536). This law would add gender identity and expression to existing Massachusetts civil rights laws, which currently prohibit
discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, and marital status in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit. The bill would also add offenses regarding gender identity or expression to the list of offenses that are subject to treatment as hate crimes. The bill defines gender identity and expression as “a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual,
regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.” This is consistent with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination’s past decisions, as well as Boston’s 2002 transgender
anti-discrimination ordinance. Members of the coalition include MassNOW; ACLU of Massachusetts; Jane Doe, Inc., The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence; National Association of Social Workers, MA; Mass AFL-CIO; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition; MassEquality; the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus and the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association.