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.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | My artwork (stationery, jewelry & more)



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TODAY -- MA LEGISLATURE HEARING -- HEIGHT/WEIGHT + GENDER IDENTITY/EXPRESSION ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILLS!

The Massachusetts legislature’s hearing on the height/weight and gender identity/expression anti-discrimination bills is TODAY!  At 1:00 p.m. EST at the MA Statehouse -- and your testimony is needed, online and off.

Weight-based discrimination is legal in all but one state and three cities; for more, contact David VanderWoude in the office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing -- who is also a sponsor of the trans bill.  MA passed the Trans Equal Rights Law in 2011, but it didn’t include public accommodations – hence this Trans Equal Access Bill; for more, see Freedom Massachusetts.  #MApoli  #fatjustice  #TransMA  #FreedomMA

I actually didn’t get David’s e-mail yet, but those who did quote it as follows:
“I am writing with an update. The Joint Committee on the Judiciary will be holding a hearing on the height and weight discrimination bill, H. 1764, next Tuesday, October 6, at 1:00 p.m. in Gardner Auditorium. This will be a very long and busy hearing due to the number of bills on the agenda and the topics being discussed, so I can’t predict when this bill will come up during the hearing. Additionally, Judiciary Committee hearings regularly run late into the night.
As such, I’d highly recommend submitting written testimony to the Committee. Testimony should be address to the House Chair, Representative John Fernandes, and the Senate Chair, Senator William Brownsberger. Written testimony can be submitted to the Committee via email to Gretchen.Bennett@MAhouse.gov.”

Here is my testimony:

October 6, 2015

Representative John Fernandes
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on the Judiciary
State House, Room 136
Boston, MA 02133

Senator William Brownsberger
House Chair, Joint Committee on the Judiciary
State House, Room 504
Boston, MA 02133

Via email:  Gretchen.Bennett@MAhouse.gov

Dear Senator Brownsberger and Representative Fernandes --

My name is Mycroft Masada Holmes, and I lived in greater Boston for more than 37 years, from my birth until last January, when I moved to Maryland to begin living with my partner.  I love and miss Boston and the rest of Massachusetts; our great city and state have always truly been my home and I hope they always will be.

I write to you today primarily as a faith leader – my roles include being a Community Engagement Adviser at TransFaith and a member of TransEpiscopal.  Before my move, I was the Chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition’s Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality, and a board member of Congregation Am Tikva.  I’ve been one of the leaders of the faith campaign for Massachusetts’ Trans Equal Rights Law, passed in November 2011, and the Trans Equal Access Bill (SB 735 / HB 1577), which is also part of today’s hearing, and which I also support.

Today, I testify in support of House Bill 1764 -- An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful, as I have done in person and/or in writing for the last few legislative sessions.  At one hearing, I also read the written testimony of attorney Sondra Solovay.

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.  HB 1764 would amend these statutes to include height and weight to the list of unlawful forms of discrimination, providing a legal remedy to those who have experienced discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on their weight or height.  As you know, this bill was approved by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development last session but did not come up for a vote before the House of Representatives and had to be re-filed for the current session.

In my personal and professional life, I have experienced and witnessed and a great deal of discrimination – especially in employment.  Much of it has been based on physical appearance and information, including height and especially weight.  This discrimination is wrong, profoundly damaging, and pervasive -- in our state and the rest of our society.  It must be ended as soon as possible, and HB 1764 will help to end it.  The bill is also an critical educational tool – its implementation process will help dispel the widespread and ever-increasing ignorance, misinformation and phobia about height and weight.  You will be given expert testimony about these issues today and during the rest of this session – ample evidence of the significant and urgent need for this legislation.

My faiths teach that like Adam, the first human being, all people are made b’tzelem 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, in body and spirit.  And all of us should be equally recognized and protected by the law.

And as much as I speak to you as a person of faith, I also speak as a life partner.  My wonderful partner of six years, Julia McCrossin, and I are the same height, and she weighs well over twice what I do; I’ve always been thin, she has always been fat.  Julia is a native and lifelong resident of Maryland and Washington DC, and visited me in Massachusetts several times.  After her father passed away, I moved to Maryland to begin living with her, largely so that we could help care for her disabled mother and the family dog.

We are privileged to live in Maryland and near DC; both have trans-inclusive civil rights, and DC’s Human Rights Laws includes height and weight in “physical appearance”.  We are unusually privileged in other ways as well – as much as we and those like us struggle, daily life is far more challenging for those who have other intersecting oppressions, such as racism, classism and ableism.  At the same time, we worry about moving to and through places where we are legally unprotected, which we often need and want to do.  We and so many others need An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Height And Weight Unlawful to pass into law as soon as possible.

We want to visit Massachusetts, have our wedding there, make our home there someday.  And we have much to offer my great state.  I want my partner to have full civil rights 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 our communities than she already 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 further this vital and long overdue legislation so that it can be passed into law this legislative session.

Thank you,

Mycroft Holmes
{my home and e-mail addresses}

Cc:  David VanderWoude
Office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing
State House, Room 235
Boston, MA  02133
Via email: David.VanderWoude@mahouse.gov
Post a Comment