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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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Massachusetts anti-discrimination bill would add weight & height!

Here in Massachusetts, a weight and height anti-discrimination bill has been reintroduced! An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Weight And Height Unlawful -- House Bill 539 (http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H00539). It would amend 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 unlawful forms of discrimination.

The bill is having a public hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development TODAY! I can’t attend; I submitted my testimony in writing. Please call and write your legislators, and spread the word! Too many people are ignorant about the issues, especially the weight-based ones – or are supportive but assume weight and height are already included in MA law (as they should be). And there’s been too little local support since the death of the primary local anti-weight discrimination leader a few years ago. This bill is one of the projects my partner (Julia McCrossin, Fat Studies scholar) and I plan to work on after she moves here this fall.

Submit your supportive testimony as a letter to:
Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House -- Room 39
Boston, MA 02133
And to:
Rep. Byron Rushing's (bill sponsor) Legislative Aide -- Tracy Choi
Tracy.Choi@state.ma.us | 617.722.2006
She is also the contact person for more information about the bill.

If you are a constituent of a committee member, call or email them -- tell them you support this bill and ask them to support it.

If you are a constituent of a sponsor of the bill, call or email them – thank them for sponsoring the bill.

Ask others to do all of the above – please feel free to use this post.

Here are my previous posts:

Here’s my testimony that I submitted today:

July 14, 2011

Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House -- Room 39
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Committee,

My name is Mycroft Holmes, and I live and work in greater Boston, where I was born and have always lived. I love Boston and the rest of Massachusetts; this great city and state have always been my home and I hope they always will be.

I’m an interfaith leader, and have been for many years. I’m Chair of the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE), a member of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition’s (MTPC) Steering Committee and Chair of MTPC’s Faith Committee, and the Emeritus Founding Chair of Keshet’s Transgender Working Group (TWiG); I’m also a board member of Congregation Am Tikva (Brookline).

I write to you in support of An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Weight And Height Unlawful -- House Bill 539. I testified before you in person in support of this bill (then House Bill 1850) at its hearing during the last legislative session (last January 27th). I also read the testimony of attorney Sondra Solovay, who could not attend as she lives and works in California. I regret that I am unable to attend today’s hearing, largely due to the extremely short notice.

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. In all but one state and three cities in this country, weight is not included in anti-discrimination or hate crimes laws. How can Massachusetts still not be one of those states? How can we not change this during this legislative session?

My faiths teach that like Adam, the first human being, all people are made btzelem Elohim – in the image of God -- people of all sizes, shapes, weights and heights. Our infinite diversity of bodies and their changes over our lifetimes are gifts and blessings -- meant to be realized, expressed, and enjoyed. God created and loves us all. We are all created equal, and should be equally protected by the law.

In my personal and professional life, 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 539 will help end it. The bill is also an important educational tool – its implementation process will help dispel the overwhelming and growing ignorance and misinformation about height and weight. I won’t go into detail, as you will be given expert testimony about these issues from my colleagues – ample evidence of the significant and urgent need for this legislation.

My wonderful life partner and I are the same height, 5’7”, and she weighs more than twice what I do – I am 135, she more than 300; I have always been thin, she has always been fat. Despite a lifetime 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 published academic who is very active in her field of English. She works as a entry associate at the National Cathedral and is a member of other faith communities, and gives time and money to social justice organizations. She has been and is 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 and Washington DC -- where height and weight are protected classes in the Human Rights Laws. She has been visiting me here in Massachusetts for two years; in May she graduated from George Washington University with her second Master’s degree, and plans to move to Boston this fall so that we can find our first home and begin the next part of our life together. We have much to offer my great state. But we are both challenged by employment discrimination, and we fear discrimination in credit, housing, public accommodations and public education. We need An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Weight And Height Unlawful to pass into law.
I want my partner to have full civil rights whenever she’s here. I want her to be able to continue to live, work and play as well even better than she has done, contributing even more to my home state than to her own. I want this for all residents and visitors of Massachusetts. I don’t want anyone to experience discrimination – but I know that some will, and I want them to be able to take appropriate action. I urge you to do everything you can to pass this vital and long overdue legislation during this session.

Thank you,

Mycroft Holmes
{address and email}