HISTORIC VICTORY: Massachusetts Voters Uphold Transgender Rights

November 6, 2018 • 9:54 pm

Victory marks the first time that voters have affirmed transgender nondiscrimination protections at the state-level

BOSTON – Voters in Massachusetts today signaled historic support for transgender Americans – residents went to the polls and affirmed a law that protects transgender people from discrimination, handing a defeat to anti-LGBTQ opponents who sought to repeal the measure. Tonight’s victory makes Massachusetts the first state to uphold transgender protections on a standalone ballot measure. This was the first time there was a statewide vote on transgender nondiscrimination protections. Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nondiscrimination law two years ago after it passed the legislature with bipartisan supermajority support, and he was among the many elected officials and Massachusetts stakeholders supporting the campaign to uphold the measure. The win ensures that Massachusetts remains one of more than 250 cities and 19 states across the country with similarly comprehensive laws in place.

“Tonight’s victory illuminates the path forward amidst a particularly dark time for transgender Americans across the nation,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “This victory is a reminder that broad majorities of Americans support treating transgender people with dignity and respect – and that attempts at the federal level to allow discrimination don’t reflect the values held by most Americans. Freedom for All Americans’ mission is to ensure that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination no matter the state they call home – and that includes the transgender young people who helped lead this campaign to victory. Massachusetts is a safer and more equitable place to call home tonight – and we’re committed to winning nondiscrimination protections in all of the other 31 states without explicit laws. We’ve permanently reframed what it means to treat transgender people with dignity and respect, and this campaign will serve as a roadmap for future victories.”

Freedom for All Americans was one of the top five contributors to Freedom for All Massachusetts and a leading member of the campaign. FFAA has devoted approximately 25 percent of its overall budget for the last year to efforts to protect the transgender nondiscrimination law, and has invested nearly $1.5 million in Massachusetts since 2015. FFAA President of Strategy Kasey Suffredini served as co-chair for the successful legislative campaign that launched in 2015 and the victorious Yes on 3 campaign, and he was an integral part of passing the first round of nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in Massachusetts in 2011. FFAA led the campaign’s digital strategy, which engaged 65,000 Bay Staters and generated support from nearly 25,000 people who committed to supporting the transgender nondiscrimination law. FFAA served on the executive committee and advised on overall strategy, messaging, field organizing, advertising, digital strategy, and earned media and communications; and also provided in-kind donations of a campaign website, digital assets and significant staff time.

“Freedom for All Americans has invested deeply in passing and now defending these protections – and we’re so proud of what our movement has accomplished tonight,” added Davis. “We won because the Yes on 3 campaign centered real transgender people and their stories, particularly the stories of transgender youth; and addressed our opposition’s scare tactics head-on. We executed the largest bipartisan effort in U.S. history to engage voters about what it means to be transgender and the critical importance of comprehensive nondiscrimination protections. Tonight’s victory is a historic step forward and a beacon of hope for LGBTQ Americans nationwide.”

Yes on 3 staff and volunteers knocked on more than 300,000 doors and made more than two million phone calls to talk about the importance of protecting transgender people from discrimination. In addition to more than 70 paid staff, more than 4,000 volunteers filled approximately 15,000 shifts to help get the word out about Yes on 3. The campaign’s field efforts resulted in more than 100,000 conversations about transgender protections with voters all across Massachusetts.

Yes On 3 raised more than $5 million, including over $1 million from businesses who understand the importance of diversity and inclusion to their bottom line. The campaign was endorsed by over 1,500 experts and community organizations, civil leaders, and businesses large and small across the state, including: the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence; the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; the Massachusetts Parent Teacher Association and other educational associations; elected officials including the governor, attorney general, and dozens of local mayors; over a dozen labor unions representing hundreds of thousands of families; more than 400 clergy leaders; and more endorsements viewable at www.FreedomMassachusetts.org.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Democrats, Republicans, and independents; businesses large and small; people of faith; and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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