ftmichael: - at Old Sturbridge Village, 03 July 2008.  Copyright 2008-2009. (Default)
[personal profile] ftmichael
http://www.baywindows.com/index.php?ch=opinion&sc=editorial&sc2=news&sc3&id=126853

The story of how the Transgender Equal Rights Bill came to pass is an old and familiar one. It has drama. It has suspense. And it has betrayal.
But not by whom you might think.
by Sue O’Connell
Wednesday Nov 16, 2011

As soon as word got out on Monday, Nov. 13 that lawmakers were poised to vote on the bill and that the bill did not have public accommodations, the finger-pointing started. Blame was directed at lesbian and gay groups for striking a compromise deal and advancing a flawed bill without input from the transgender community. A couple of crazy national bloggers even compared what was happening in Massachusetts with Maryland -- you know, the state where advocates tried to advance a civil rights bill without public accommodations from the very start, and where there was a very ugly and public split between the leading gay organization, Equality Maryland, and the leading trans organization, Trans Maryland.

None of these allegations are true. Massachusetts is not Maryland. Not even close. And what happened here politically bears no resemblance to what happened there.

As for the accusations that a nefarious deal had been struck without input from the state’s trans community? Nonsense. Not only has the Bay State’s trans community had a seat at the decision-making table throughout the lengthy advocacy of this bill, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition Executive Director Gunner Scott has been chairing the meetings at said decision-making table.

So if you’re angry about the fact that the Transgender Equal Rights Bill does not include public accommodations, direct your anger where it belongs: the state legislature.

The truth is, and Bay Windows knows this because we have been talking with advocates and legislative champions for months, lawmakers did not want to take a vote on this bill and they did everything that they could not to take a vote.

In the end, the bill moved thanks to pressure from Gov. Deval Patrick and the unrelenting advocacy by state Reps. Carl Sciortino and Byron Rushing and state Sens. Ben Downing and Sonia Chang-Díaz. It also didn’t hurt that the coalition that formed to push this bill through somehow held it together and did not, as so many coalitions do, implode when the going got tough. After tough, emotional meetings (during which tears were shed and tempers flared), the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition decided to call every bluff offered by lawmakers (as long-time trans activist Nancy Nangeroni has detailed in online comments to the crazy blog posts referenced above). Language changes? Yeah, we’ll take your language changes. Now when do we get the vote? More language changes? Yeah, we’ll take these changes. Now when do we get the vote? No public accommodations? Um, yeah, we’ll take the bill. Now when do we get the vote?

So it’s no surprise (or shouldn’t be) that the bill that passed is far from perfect. How on earth can you set up a system by which it is illegal to fire your transgender barista, but okay to refuse to serve your transgender customer? It’s hard to see how that will actually work in the real world. Hopefully, all it will take to sort this out is a lawsuit or two as opposed to another lengthy process to get another bill.


The bottom line is that it will soon be illegal to fire someone from their job because they are transgender. It will soon be illegal to evict someone from their apartment because they are transgender. It will soon be illegal to deny someone credit because they are transgender.

You get the idea.

These are basic protections. They are long overdue. And they will change the lives of transgender residents for the better.

Good work, folks.
ftmichael: (yay)
[personal profile] ftmichael
Contact: Gunner Scott
1617 778 0519
gscott@masstpc.org

For Immediate Release

Transgender Equal Rights Now a Reality in Massachusetts

BOSTON, MA [11/16/11] – The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is proud to announce the passing of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill in the House and the Senate extending civil rights and hate crimes protections to the state’s transgender residents.

Last night, just before 9:00 PM, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Transgender Equal Rights bill without any amendments. This morning by 10:30 AM, the bill passed in the Massachusetts Senate. The bill must still be approved once more in Senate the Governor can sign it. As we wait for Governor Deval Patrick to officially sign this bill into law, we can celebrate the impact this will have on our transgender youth, adults, and families across the Commonwealth.

MTPC thanks our legislative lead sponsors Representative Carl Sciortino, Representative Byron Rushing, Senator Ben Downing, and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz; all of the House and Senate co-sponsors, and the leadership of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray for providing vital protections for approximately 33,000 transgender residents here in Massachusetts.

This bill will give transgender people equal protections when seeking employment, housing, credit, and education. The bill also expands the state's hate crimes protections to now include transgender people; a community that experiences alarmingly disproportionate levels of harassment and violence.

The final version of the Transgender Equal Rights Bill passed by the legislature unfortunately does not include protections within public accommodations. MTPC and our coalition partners fought hard to try to get public accommodations restored in the Senate version of the bill, and were unsuccessful in doing so. Although this bill does not include public accommodations, this is a historic and important victory in the fight for achieving transgender equality in Massachusetts.

“This is not the end of our fight, and MTPC is committed to getting public accommodations protections for our transgender youth, adults, and families. MTPC plans on introducing a bill for the 2013 legislative session for those public accommodations protections,” said Gunner Scott, Executive Director of MTPC. “For now, let’s be proud of the difference this bill will make in the daily lives of thousands of people across the state who need jobs, a safe place to live and access to education.”

MTPC expresses our deepest gratitude to our community members, who have spent countless hours educating their legislators and the general public about the issues transgender people face. "It is because of the courage of our community members to come forward and tell their personal stories about themselves, their family members, and their friends that we have accomplished this milestone," said Nancy Nangeroni, Steering Committee Chair of MTPC.

MTPC thanks the members of the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition including MassEquality, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), ACLU of Massachusetts, MassNOW, Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, Jobs with Justice, and Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality for their tireless work on behalf of transgender equal rights.


Founded in 2001, the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is a 501(c) 3 that works to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC educates the public, advocates with state, local, and federal government, engages in political activism, and encourages empowerment of community members through collective action.
ftmichael: - at Old Sturbridge Village, 03 July 2008.  Copyright 2008-2009. (Default)
[personal profile] ftmichael
http://masstpc.org/?p=1358

New Study Finds Employment Discrimination against Transgender Residents of Massachusetts Costs the State Millions Annually
May 11th, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gunner Scott: 1617 778 0519
Kara Suffredini: 1617 878 2300

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
Political Coalition.

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.

View or download the report

See press coverage


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.