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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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Trans / loved one? Need friendly phone call this month?

Are you a trans person or loved one who could use a friendly phone call this month? Do you know someone who is? Please let the the 3rd annual December Project know! 

http://www.jenniferboylan.net/2013/11/23/trans-holidays-got-you-down-we-will-call-you-on-the-phone/

Trans? Holidays got you down? WE WILL CALL YOU ON THE PHONE


Update, Dec. 9: Please scroll to bottom for the latest.
Hello there.  For the third year in a row, we are doing THE DECEMBER PROJECT.  The plan is simple.  If you are trans– or if you love some one who is trans– and you need a friendly voice, email us and we will call you on the phone.
We began this project in 2011.  I was thinking that year how hard the holidays can be for people– but they can be especially hard for trans people and their families.  Charles Dickens had it right when, in the CHRISTMAS CAROL, he suggested that it’s Christmas, not Halloween, that’s the most haunted of holidays.  Our memories are heightened at this time of year– we think back to our childhood, to our many struggles.  For some of us it’s a time when we’re acutely aware of how cut off we are from those we love.  The world is full of transgender people who are unable to see their children, their parents,  their loved ones, all because of the simple fact of who they are.
We cannot undo all the hurt in the world.  But what we can do is CALL YOU ON THE PHONE and remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You don’t have to be in crisis to take advantage of this project.  All you have to do is want a friendly voice.
The project is run by four people– Jennifer Finney Boylan, national co-chair of GLAAD; Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality;  Dylan Scholinski, director of Sent(a)mental Studios, and Helen Boyd, Professor at Lawrence University.  We are two trans women, a trans man, and a spouse of a trans woman.  Between the four of us, we have heard many different kinds of trans narratives.  If we can help you, we would be glad to do so.
How do you get us to call you? By emailing jb@jenniferboylan.net.   I’ll use that email as the central mailbox;  if you have a particular preference to talk to one or the other of us, let me know– although I can’t guarantee that you’ll always here from the person you request.  Also please tell us the time of day and the date you’d be free for a call; you might want to give us a couple of options.  And of course, tell us your phone number.  WE WILL KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENTIAL.
We will start with calls on December 1, and keep this going until New Years.
Sound good?  I hope so.  We hope we can help, even if just a little.
Three other caveats I should mention at the end here:
1) First, no one in the December Project gets a dime out of it.  This is a shoestring operation, largely consisting of four people trading phone numbers.  If you want to support our causes, you can let us know, and we’ll tell you how to give.  But this is not about that.
2) If you are in serious crisis, please bypass us and go directly to the national suicide prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255  WE ARE NOT TRAINED AS THERAPISTS or as counsellors for individuals in crisis.  If you need something more serious than a “friendly voice,’ please call the lifeline.
3) For the moment we are content with this project consisting of the four of us;  in past years, we have been a little overwhelmed (and yes, deeply touched) by the many, many of you who have wanted to join us.  While we thank you for your grace and your love,  it’s also overwhelming for us to sort through the requests; we hope you’ll understand if we ask that folks writing us be primarily those who want a call. There are many ways you can get involved in your own community, and we heartily encourage everyone who wants to spread some love around to do so in their own way, starting right at home.
Thanks so much!  Wishing you all the best for a positive, hopeful, loving holiday season!
Sincerely,
Jennifer Finney Boylan, on behalf of the December Project
Update, Dec. 9:  We have been deluged with requests!  We are making the calls as swiftly as we can, but if you haven’t heard back from us, please be patient.  Also, please request calls via the email address listed above, and NOT through the comments section below!  Thanks so much.
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Erev Thanksgivukkah / National Day Of Mourning

This is the eve of Thanksgivukkah and the National Day Of Mourning.  

TransFaith writes:

"Remembering Two Spirit People This Thanksgiving


Stonewall is often touted as the beginning of the modern LGBTQ movement, yet we know that Two Spirit people were honored in the Americas for centuries before European colonization.

To quote Irene Monroe's "Remembering Two-Spirits This Thanksgiving,"

As we get into the holiday spirit, let us remember the whole story of the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers to the New World.

Remembering the profound impact of colonization is about respecting our Native siblings, but also about learning from their efforts to reclaim traditional worldviews that make space for all of us.

November is "Native American Indian Heritage Month" in the United States and in this season of Thanksgiving, I am delighted to bring your attention to Transfaith's new website section highlighting Indigenous Traditions.

I also want to take this moment to express my gratitude for the emerging Transfaith Two Spirit Advisory Council. Chief Bob, Lynn, Harlan, Janis, Rik, Anna-Sara, thank you for all that you have already taught me and given to us all!

With thanksgiving,
Chris Paige
Executive Director"

Locally, the focal point is the National Day of Mourning observance in Plymouth MA -- Facebook event | website.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Fat Pedagogy Reader: Challenging Weight-Based Oppression in Education - call for papers

CALL FOR PAPERS
The Fat Pedagogy Reader: Challenging Weight-Based Oppression in Education

Edited by Erin Cameron & Constance Russell, Lakehead University 
(to be published in “Counterpoints” series (ed. Shirley Steinberg) for Peter Lang Publishers) 

Over the last decade, concerns about ‘globesity’, referring to a global obesity epidemic, have flourished. The media is rife with hyperbolic claims about the dire consequences of obesity, and public health messages about physical activity, fitness, and nutrition permeate society. This obesity discourse serves to reproduce a framework of thinking, talking, and action where thinness is privileged and where a ‘size matters’ message fuels narratives about personal irresponsibility and lack of willpower that validates fat-phobic behaviours and practices. In response, a growing number of scholars are interrogating obesity discourse, illuminating its consequences, and discussing how it can be challenged. In this book, we wish to bring attention to the ways in which weight-based oppression occurs within spaces and places of learning. We want to develop and advocate a fat pedagogy that promotes safe learning spaces for all learners, regardless of size.

This book will make a significant contribution to the literature because there has not yet been a comprehensive examination of the pedagogical approaches used for disrupting weight-based oppression in elementary, secondary and higher education or in education in non-formal and informal settings. A growing number of scholars in education as well as in women’s studies, geography, psychology, and health, are starting to write about how weight-based oppression could be challenged. We thus want to bring together an international contingent of scholars from a diverse range of disciplines to critically examine approaches to teaching about weight-based oppression from a range of historical, social, political, and cultural contexts.

We expect this book to be of interest to scholars, educators, students, and practitioners in the fields of fat studies, critical weight studies, critical geographies of body size, critical health studies, and social justice education. It will be of particular interest and use to instructors who are teaching in the areas of education, women’s studies, public health, community health, kinesiology, nursing, nutrition, geography, and psychology, as well as interested teachers in elementary and secondary schools.

We envision the book as being made up of an extensive array of relatively short (i.e., 3000-5000 words) and accessibly written chapters that describe and analyze the pedagogical approaches used by educators from around the world who address ideas of bodies, weight, fatness, obesity, thinness, and health at any size in their teaching. The book will end with a Fat Pedagogy Manifesto and a call to action. It is time to throw our weight around, so to speak, on this important social justice issue!

We are requesting a “statement of interest” (maximum 500 words) that includes the title of the proposed submission and an abstract that provides an overview of key arguments to be made in the chapter by January 7, 2014. A decision on whether a full submission will be sought will be communicated by February 1, 2014. Full manuscripts will be due August 1, 2014.

Inquiries and statements of interest should be directed to Erin Cameron (emcarte1@lakeheadu.ca) and Connie Russell (crussell@lakeheadu.ca).


*******
And for a visual aid -- my partner, Fat Studies scholar Julia McCrossin, giving flabulous demonstrations of fat pedagogy at George Washington University a few years ago (Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, English Department):






Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology - my guest lecture

Today I guest lectured for the third November in a row at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP), in Jessica Stahl’s class Psychology of Diversity & Difference in the Counseling Psychology master’s program.  As before, I was primarily representing Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC); MSPP has been having a few trans people from a few orgs in to speak every year for years, including SpeakOut.  Also as before, it was pretty informal, and we had a Q&A session after.  This class was quieter than the previous ones, but they had had an even better trans education before I arrived.  It’s a good gig for many reasons – my fascination with psychology and the school’s recent move to Newton (my second hometown) among them.  Alas, this will be my last visit to MSPP, as I am moving to DC at the end of January.  My predecessor was Rachel K. Zall – yes, a tough act to follow! – who moved to Philly; it will be interesting to see who my/our successor is.  And if you're in the market for trans-led, personalized trans educational services, check out MTPC's page about what we offer.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My partner Julia McCrossin's interview by One Plus Love

I'm finally getting around to sharing Almah LaVon's interview of my partner Julia McCrossin for Onepluslove -- about the intersectionality of queerness and fatness and more. *KVELLING*

RECENT NEWS

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Julia McCrossin has been active in fat community off and on since the late 80’s. Her work has appeared in The Fat Studies Reader, among other publications. She identifies as queer and gender variant, and holds two advanced degrees from The George Washington University.
What are your thoughts regarding the intersection between LGBT and fat e-activism?
I don’t know that I see a lot of intersection. For example, look at all the people who used some Facebook image to mark the passing of marriage equality laws in US states, or when the Supreme Court recently ruled in ways favorable to marriage equality. I’ve never seen anything remotely like that have an effect online for body positive movements, let alone ones that are specifically, or visibly inclusive of, fat bodies. However, since I think the percentage of queer-identified individuals is significant in fat activism, I do see promising work done that recognizes the intersectionality of sexuality, gender, and body size.
Why is fat-positive online community-building in LGBT communities so important?
Since many queer people are also fat, it is essential that online LGBTQ communities create welcoming spaces for fat people. I would argue that many LGBTQ people are even more aware and contemplative about society’s insistence on the value of personal appearance and its connection to acceptance/relationships/sexual activity than others, and so people who don’t fit certain stereotypes about LGTBQ people that highlight slenderness and/or muscularity would be even more reluctant to enter LGBTQ spaces in real life, making online community a welcome bridge to making real world connections with other queers. I’ve been struck all along about how silent the whole “It Gets Better” campaign was about body size, when data suggests children with bodies that are larger or smaller than what Is deemed ‘acceptable’ face the same, if not more, amount of bullying that LGBTQ kids face. How are fat LGBTQ youth supposed to read “It Gets Better,” that it will get better when they grow up only if they become slim LGBTQ adults?
How can technology and media help create safe space for fat folks?
In a literal sense, technology and media create space for fat folks because it is a boundless medium. No need to worry if the chairs are wide and sturdy enough, if the aisles in the room are accommodating enough, or if the stalls in the public restrooms are roomy enough. Also, the boundless medium doesn’t care that you can’t find flattering fashion that reflects your style in your size, and it doesn’t care if you use a scooter or a cane.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy National Coming Out Day #NCOD

Well. My National Coming Out Day (#NCOD) posting prayers have been answered.

My partner Julia McCrossin: “This is my experience, the not being made fun of or criticized for my queerness, but dehumanized for my fatness. If only more people cared about my dignity and equality as a fat woman as they do for my queerness.”

Julia has written about her experience at her blog – see especially "The Rest Of The (Fat) Story".  
The below article definitely has some issues – for one thing, ableism / racism / transphobia et al should have been addressed earlier and better.

I’d also like to see a lot more conversation about how actually you often do need to decide whether to come out as fat (or formerly fat, or okay with becoming / wanting to become fat/ter; or fat-allied) – like here on the internet – and how much more so, how you often need to decide whether to come out as being on the fat-positive spectrum. And how unsafe those disclosures can be. (Tolerate your doctor’s fatphobia, or disagree and risk worse treatment / no treatment?) And how that relates to the true complexity of queer outness / disclosure issues, especially for trans people.

Nu, without further ado -- Louis Peitzman's "It Gets Better, Unless You're Fat" for Buzz Feed. 

Also:


Also also:



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The MA height / weight anti-discrimination bill is moving!

Rep. Byron Rushing forwarded this to supporters today -- sorry no link, SHNS is subscription-only (?!):

(For those tuning in late, see my previous post about the bill.)

"From: State House News Service [mailto:news@statehousenews.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2013 3:59 PM
To: news@statehousenews.com
Subject: COMMITTEE BACKS BILL ADDING HEIGHT, WEIGHT TO ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW

http://www.statehousenews.com/public/logo.gif

COMMITTEE BACKS BILL ADDING HEIGHT, WEIGHT TO ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAW

By Colleen Quinn
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 8, 2013….Ten bills related to workers’ rights and benefits, including one that prevents discrimination based on height and weight, moved forward in the Legislature after a legislative committee voted to recommend passage of the proposals Tuesday.

Lawmakers on the Labor and Workforce Development Committee voted 7-1 in favor of recommending legislation (H 1758) filed by Rep. Byron Rushing that would add height and weight to the list of unlawful discriminatory practices prohibited by employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, landlords or real estate agents. The bill would add height and weight to the protected class descriptions, which include race, color and religious creed.

Rep. Wayne Matewsky (D-Everett) expressed concern about how the legislation would affect people who are no longer able to perform their duties because they had gained weight.

Rep. Keiko Orrall, a Republican from Lakeville, voted against advancing the bill.

Weight discrimination at work is more pervasive than race, gender or sexual orientation discrimination and increasingly considered acceptable, according to advocates who testified before the committee in June.

Dr. Scott Butsch, who works at the digestive health care center at Massachusetts General Hospital, testified in June that he has treated “countless” patients who experience weight discrimination at work. Often, they are unaware they are being discriminated against until after they lose weight and are given promotions or new opportunities at work. "I believe weight discrimination stems from the common belief that obesity is a character flaw," Butsch said during the hearing in June. Weight bias in the United States, he said, has become "socially acceptable."

Another bill that moved forward gives employment leave to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. The bill, filed by Rep. Thomas Stanley (D-Waltham) and Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), would give workers up to 15 days leave in any 12-month period, with or without pay, if the employee or their family member is a victim of abusive behavior. Companies with 50 or more employees would be subject to the requirement, aimed at giving victims the opportunity to seek court-ordered protection, medical attention, counseling, legal assistance or housing. The bill stipulates the employee is not eligible for leave if they are the perpetrator of the abusive behavior.

The committee voted 7-1 in favor of advancing the bill, with Orrall voting against.

Committee members also voted 7-1 in favor of legislation around parental leave (H 1774/S 865), filed by Rep. Martin Walsh (D-Dorchester) and Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville). Orrall voted no.

The bill (H 1774/S 865) would revise existing laws around maternity leave by removing the limitation that the benefit is only available to female employees. Under the bill, leave would also apply to part-time employees. It limits the probationary period for employees to be eligible to a maximum of six months.

The Labor Committee also voted in favor of legislation relative to defense against abusive waivers (H 1728/S 848), filed by Rep. Kenneth Gordon (D-Bedford) and Sen. Katherine Clark (D-Melrose); and a bill clarifying the meal break law for private enforcement (S 859).

The abusive waivers bill would add a section to state law regulating labor and industries in Massachusetts, which includes enforceable rights and procedures for employment discrimination and sexual harassment. The bill would void contractual provisions waiving any substantive or procedural right to claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment or violation of public policy.

The meal break bill states employers cannot require an employee to work for more than six consecutive hours without allowing at least 30 minutes for a meal. Currently, the attorney general must investigate violations of the meal break law. The proposed legislation would allow employees to file lawsuits.

The committee voted unanimously in favor of legislation (S 867) filed by Sen. Brian Joyce, that would make it illegal for an employer to deny employment, reemployment, retention or promotion to a U.S. military veteran, including members of the National Guard, on the basis of their military association.

A bill filed by Rep. Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee) providing incentives for productive workers’ compensation audits was also given a favorable recommendation by the committee, with seven members voting for it.

Current state workers compensation law requires all self-insured employers to be audited annually. There is no requirement that employers with commercial workers compensation insurance conduct audits. The proposed legislation would require all employers to be audited at least biennially, and those employers in the construction industry to be audited annually.

END
10/8/2013

Serving the working press since 1910

http://www.statehousenews.com"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Shana tova!!

Shana tova!!  Happy 5774!!

I hope everyone who observed had awesome Days Of Awe. I did, including giving the dvar (sermon) at Congregation Am Tikva’s Kol Nidre service. As for many years, CAT had a joint Healing Service with our home Temple Sinai on Yom Kippur, and TS’ Rabbi Andy Vogel gave a mini dvar based on a Jewish teaching. This year’s, which I had encountered a few times before, but without the punchline:

“Every person should have in his/her two pockets pieces of paper with these written on them:

In one pocket: ‘For my sake was the world created’ (Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:4).
In the other pocket: ‘I am dust and ashes’ (Genesis 18:27).

At certain times and places, you should pull out the appropriate piece of paper.

But know that most people make this mistake: They take out the wrong piece of paper at the wrong time!”

Rabbi Simcha Bunem of Przysucha (1765 - 1827)
Itturei Torah, volume 1, page 145

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Huffington Post's "Most Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders"


I'm #69 (ha) on the Huffington Post's list of Most Inspiring LGBT Religious Leaders, now at 91 and counting. It's still not nearly as diverse as it should or could be, and the current diversity took a lot of doing, and we still need a show of trans faith leaders, and so on. But it's something. And if you too want it to be something else, I encourage you to use the "Contribute to this story" buttons etc. underneath it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Praise the Lard



EEEEEEE! Someone walked by me in Cambridge today wearing this or something very much like it! AMEN! Praise the Lard indeed! I know it’s intended to be more pork-positive than pig- or fat-positive – but as a queer faith leader I’m all about more positive interpretations of sacred texts. I have to show my brother who has always loved pigs.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cindy Baker’s book “Fat Haircuts”


Cindy Baker’s book “Fat Haircuts” is out – and my partner Julia McCrossin is in it!
5th thumbnail; photo by moi right after a haircut.

“Hey everyone! For all those who asked, here's how to get a copy of the Fat Haircuts book! It's pretty expensive, even selling direct from the printer, but they're having a sale until the end of July for 55% off! That should make it about $70, and shipping is free if you spend at least $65! If you miss the sale, they usually give a coupon code to people who like their facebook page or follow their twitter account.

If you can't afford it, tell your library* to buy it instead!

Coupon Code: JULY55IWP”

*Boston Public Library - Jamaica Plain Branch.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Special issue of Fat Studies : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society re: Visual Representations of Fat and Fatness


Fat Studies

Derp! I forgot to say that the special issue of Fat Studies : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society on Visual Representations of Fat and Fatness came out in May. And you can see 4 of the 11 parts for free. I was one of the reviewers for a piece that didn't make it -- it did need editing, but was a good idea and well done, so hopefully the writer will publish it somewhere soon. (I really wish I could tell you about it, but the writers don't know who their reviewers are, and vice versa.) And I was included in the Thanks to Reviewers.

Monday, June 24, 2013

MA height & weight anti-discrimination bill is back!

The Massachusetts height and weight anti-discrimination bill is back!  And it has a hearing on Tuesday June 25th.  Please read, submit testimony, attend, contact your legislators, spread the word, etc.!  MA voters are most needed but everything helps.  

An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful (House Bill 1758) has been re-filed.  It would amend MA state laws prohibiting discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations by adding “height” and “weight” to the list of legally protected ‘classes’.  The lead sponsor is Representative Byron Rushing, a longtime and amazing social justice leader, including for transgender rights and in the Episcopal Church (the Trans Equal Rights Law passed in November 2011, the Trans Equal Access Bill was filed this January).

This legislation is very badly needed and long overdue, and has already had a long process – and it may well be a longer one.  Many people here, as everywhere, are ignorant about weight and weight discrimination, and many assume weight is already included in MA law (as they should be). And there’s been very little visible local support in recent years; the primary local anti-weight-discrimination leader passed away several years ago and it seems like she hasn't been succeeded.  There’s a lot of potential support, including in my queer and faith communities, but it will take a great deal of (re-)education to make it actual.

Click here for my previous posts about the bill.  Thanks again to flabulous fat community leader Marilyn Wann for looping me into this a few years ago!

E-update of Tuesday May 28th (email Dave to put yourself on the list for updates):

Hi All,

Thank you for your past support and advocacy for legislation in Massachusetts to make it unlawful to discriminate based on height and weight. As you may know, Representative Rushing has again filed H. 1758, An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful during the current legislative session. 

I am writing to let you know that a hearing has been scheduled for this bill on Tuesday, June 25 before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.  The hearing begins at  10:00 am in Hearing Room B-1 in the  Massachusetts State House.  Representative Rushing would like to invite you to provide oral or written testimony in support of this bill.  Written testimony can be addressed to:

State House, Room 511B
Boston, MA 02133

State House, Room 39
Boston, MA 02133

Please reply to this email message  if you are interested in providing testimony in support of the bill.  If you know of others who might be interested in providing testimony in support of this legislation, please feel free to forward this email along.

I’ve attached a copy of the bill for your reference. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.  

Best,
Dave

Dave VanderWoude
Office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing
State House, Room 235
Boston, MA 02133

E-update of Thursday June 13th (email Dave to put yourself on the list for updates):

Hi All,

I am writing to remind you of the public hearing on Tuesday, June 25, regarding H. 1758,An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful.  Representative Rushing would greatly appreciate if you would be willing to provide oral and/or written testimony.   Please let me know if you plan to provide testimony if you haven’t done so already. 

The hearing begins at 10:00 am in Hearing Room B-1 in the Massachusetts State House and is scheduled to run until 3:00 pm.  The Committee is finalizing the order in which the bills will be heard, so I will send out this list as soon as I receive it to give you a more specific estimate of when the bill will be heard.  If you are unable to provide testimony in-person, you can submit written testimony by emailing the Committee Co-Chairs directly atThomas.Conroy@mahouse.gov and Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov. Please copy me (David.VanderWoude@mahouse.gov) on the testimony you submit.

For your reference, I’ve attached a copy of the bill and included a brief summary below.
               
What would this bill do?
Section 4 of Chapter 151B and Sections 92A and 98 of Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws currently state that persons cannot be discriminated against in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, or ancestry. 

This bill would amend these statutes to include height and weight to the list of unlawful forms of discrimination.  It would provide a legal remedy to those who have experienced discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on their weight or height.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Best,
Dave

Dave VanderWoude
Office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing
State House, Room 235
Boston, MA 02133


E-update of Thursday June 20th (email Dave to put yourself on the list for updates):

Hi All,

I am writing to remind you of next week’s hearing regarding legislation that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of height and weight.  We would greatly appreciate it if you provide testimony, oral or written, in favor of this bill.  The text of the bill can be foundhere.

For those of you attending the hearing, I’ve listed the order in which the bills will be heard by the Labor and Workforce Development Committee.  The hearing begins at 10:00 am in Hearing Room B-1 in the Massachusetts State House and is scheduled to run until3:00 pm.

Please be in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

Best,
Dave


 Bill #
Lead Sponsor
Bill Title
H. 2460/S. 877
Rep. M. Walsh / Sen. Pacheco
An Act extending safety precautions to employees of the executive branch of the Commonwealth
H. 1733
Rep. Jones
An Act to provide a safe workplace for employees of the commonwealth and its political subdivisions
H. 1726
Rep. Gobi
An Act providing for the protection of emergency responders from dismissal
H. 1773
Rep. M. Walsh
An Act clarifying patient safety precautions
H. 1775
Rep. M. Walsh
An Act to provide occupational safeguards for employees resulting from the introduction and utilization of video display terminals
S. 859
Sen. Eldridge
An Act clarifying the meal break law to allow for private enforcement
S. 881
Sen. Petruccelli
An Act relative to climate conditions in public schools
H.1702 / H. 1767
Rep. Calter / Rep. Story / Sen. Jehlen
An Act further defining comparable work
H. 1758
Rep. Rushing
An Act making discrimination on the basis of height and weight unlawful
H. 1766
Rep. Story / Sen. Clark
An Act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing, and harassment, without regard to protected class status
H. 1780
Rep. Walz
An Act relative to non-discrimination training in the workplace
H. 3231
Rep. Coakley-Rivera
An Act relative to discrimination in the workplace
S. 867
Sen. Joyce
An Act preventing discrimination based on veteran’s status
H. 1740
Rep. Koczera
An Act providing unpaid family and medical leave
H. 1746
Rep. Mark
An Act regulating Chapter 136
H. 1764 / S. 853
Rep. Stanley / Sen. Creem
An Act to establish employment leave and safety remedies to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault
H. 1774 / S. 865
Rep. M. Walsh / Sen. Jehlen
An Act relative to parental leave
H. 1718 / S. 887
Sen. Dorcena Forry / Sen. Rodrigues
An Act relative to the fair distribution of gratuities / An Act relative to the pooling of tips
H. 1749 / S. 862
Rep. Michlewitz / Sen. Hart
An Act to further protect an employee’s right to tips

My testimony, submitted Sunday June 23rd by email:

June 25, 2013

Senator Daniel A. Wolf
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House, Room 511B
Boston, MA  02133

Representative Thomas P. Conroy
House Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House, Room 39
Boston, MA  02133

Via email:  Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov | Thomas.Conroy@mahouse.gov 

Dear Senator Wolf and Representative Conroy --

My name is Mycroft Masada Holmes, and I live and work in greater Boston, where I was born 37 years ago this month and where I have always lived.  I love Boston and the rest of Massachusetts; this great city and state have always truly been my home and I hope they always will be.  

I’m an interfaith leader – Chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition’s (MTPC) Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE), a Community Engagement Adviser at TransFaith, and a board member of Congregation Am Tikva.  Much of my work has been in support of the Transgender Equal Rights Law and the Transgender Equal Access Bill (House Bill 1589 / Senate Bill 643). 

Today, I testify in support of House Bill 1758 -- An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful.  I testified in person and in writing in support of this bill (then House Bill 1850) at its hearing on January 27th of 2010; I also read the testimony of attorney Sondra Solovay, who could not attend as she was in California where she lives and usually works.  I testified in writing for the bill’s hearing on July 14th of 2011 (then House Bill 539); I was unable to attend, largely due to the very short notice.  I plan to attend and testify at today’s hearing.     

Section 4 of Chapter 151B and Sections 92A and 98 of Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws currently state that persons cannot be discriminated against in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, or ancestry. 

This bill would amend these statutes to include height and weight to the list of unlawful forms of discrimination.  It would provide a legal remedy to those who have experienced discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on their weight or height.

In all but one state and three cities in this country, weight is not included in anti-discrimination or hate crimes laws.  How can this be?  How can Massachusetts remain one of those forty-nine states?  How can we not right this as soon as possible – indeed, 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 lived and shared with happiness and pride.  God creates and loves all of us, equally.  And all of us 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 1758 will help to end it.  The bill is also an important educational tool – its implementation process will help dispel the overwhelming and rapidly growing ignorance, misinformation and phobia 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 very significant and deeply urgent need for this legislation.  

My wonderful life partner Julia McCrossin and I are the same height, 5’7”, and she weighs more than twice what I do – I am in the 130s, she in the 300s; 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, Julia has been largely happy and healthy,  and a good and productive citizen.  She is a published and active English and Fat Studies academic, a volunteer at her local animal shelter and a loving dog owner, and a devoted daughter to her disabled mother.  She has been and is a tremendous gift and blessing to her family, friends, colleagues, teachers, students, and all those who have been fortunate enough to know her, or indeed know of her.  

Julia is a native and lifelong resident of Maryland and Washington DC – where the Human Rights Laws include height and weight in “physical appearance”.  She has visited me here in Massachusetts several times over the four years we’ve been partnered.  We are considering making our home here, and in any case will visit, and have much to offer my great state.  But we are both challenged by discrimination, especially in employment.  We need An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Height And Weight Unlawful to pass into law, and soon.  

I want my partner to have full civil rights whenever she’s here, and wherever she is.  I want her to be able to continue to live, work and play better than she has done, contributing even more to her society than she has.  I want this for all residents of and visitors to Massachusetts.  I don’t want anyone to experience discrimination – and yet 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
{home and e-mail addresses}  

Cc: Dave VanderWoude
Office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing
State House, Room 235
Boston, MA  02133
Via email: david.vanderwoude@mahouse.gov