For Transgender Graduate, Passage of Transgender Protections Bill Would Mean Safety and Security at Home

Andrew Asquith • Boston, MA
For Andrew Asquith, the past year has been one in which he has seen his identity as a transgender man cast into the national spotlight. With anti-LGBT legislation filed in states across the country and strong advocacy from the United States government on behalf of transgender people everywhere, the lives of transgender Americans have been catapulted into the public eye.
Throughout it all, he was kept his eyes and advocacy focused on Massachusetts, where he lives and where state lawmakers have been for the past year considering legislation to extend full non-discrimination protections to transgender people.
“The passage of this legislation would send a strong message that we stand by our transgender constituents.” – Andrew Asquith
Andrew is intimately familiar with the work – he served as the Policy Intern for the Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition last year, just as a new broad-based coalition, Freedom Massachusetts, was being built to send a clear, laser-focused message about why it’s long past time for transgender people to be statutorily protected in all public spaces. Andrew calls the Freedom Massachusetts campaign “the Justice League of Massachusetts LGBT organizations.”
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“It was really exciting for me to be involved at the time Freedom Massachusetts was being launched because I had never worked on anything like that,” Andrew said. “It was this huge effort to push along the bill and gain support from businesses and faith organizations and state leaders.”

Andrew learned a lot during his internships with MTPC – and now, he’s graduating from college. He’s looking forward to applying what he’s learned to his future endeavors.

“The work varied over the course of the weeks with Freedom Massachusetts,” Andrew said, explaining that each community of Massachusetts is different with regard to its views on LGBT people. “We were often working to debunk myths and change minds. The most common misconception was that people didn’t think the bill would affect their town or county. They just didn’t think there were any transgender people who lived there. So finding trans people in those communities who were comfortable being out and sharing their stories was really important.”

Andrew is also looking forward to passage of the transgender protections bill, known as #TransBillMA.

“It would be awesome to see this bill passed,” he said. “I think that considering Massachusetts is a leader in protecting trans people in every other area – employment, housing, credit and lending, education – it’s disappointing that MA hasnt stepped up to the plate so far. This bill would send a really strong message to transgender people living in the state, but also to the country, that we aren’t going to buy the hysteria that surrounds this legislation so often.”

He specifically mentions the enormous national attention paid to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which rolled back local non-discrimination protections for LGBT residents and further codified rules prohibiting transgender people from using the restroom or other sex-segregated spaces.

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“So much of the discourse is being unfairly positioned that non-trans people are in danger, or we should be catering to non-trans people’s comfort levels or something like that,” Andrew said. “But trans women, especially trans women of color, are most susceptible to violence, and to make the conversation not about them is insulting.  It distracts from the issue at hand.”

Andrew also knows how much the bill’s passage would impact his daily life. “It would mean a lot personally for me,” he said. “I could go anywhere safely and not worry about being treated differently just because of how I look or how I sound – and if I did get treated unfairly I would have a legal protection there.”

“I could go anywhere safely and not worry about being treated differently just because of how I look or how I sound – and if I did get treated unfairly I would have a legal protection there.”

“The passage of this legislation would send a strong message that we stand by our transgender constituents,” he concluded. “It recognizes the reality that if anyone is going to get discriminated against in this state, it’s transgender people – and that we want to protect them in any way that we can.”



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