MA Celebrates Anniversary of Transgender Law as Historic Fight Looms on Election Day

July 8, 2018 • 9:55 am
BOSTON – Today marks two years since Massachusetts’ Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed into law explicit protections for transgender people in public places, such as restaurants, stores, and doctors’ offices. The win in Massachusetts was one of the biggest victories for transgender rights in recent American history.Shortly after the law went into effect two years ago, opponents gathered the small number of signatures needed to force it onto a ballot measure in November 2018. Massachusetts voters will now face the first-ever statewide popular vote on transgender rights this Election Day.

“The campaign to uphold basic protections for transgender people in Massachusetts is a top priority for the entire LGBTQ movement,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “Opponents of LGBTQ rights are desperately seeking to mislead voters and abuse their unfamiliarity with transgender people in order to roll back protections as quickly as possible. Even in blue Massachusetts, public polls indicate this will be a tight race; and we must do everything in our power to be sure we secure a victory in November. The outcome in Massachusetts will set the stage for the work we’ll need to do in the near future on LGBTQ rights across the rest of the U.S.”

Massachusetts has been called “the next transgender rights battleground” and “the biggest test to date” on transgender rights. A “yes” vote will uphold basic protections for transgender people under the law, while a “no” vote will eliminate the current protections. Removing protections in Massachusetts, opponents of LGBTQ equality have said, would embolden them to roll back protections for transgender people from discrimination elsewhere across the country.

Advocates in support of upholding the transgender nondiscrimination law publicly launched their campaign in May with support from the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the state’s largest women’s organizations and sexual assault prevention groups such as the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, hundreds of faith leaders, bipartisan legislative leadership, the state’s Republican governor, and more. The launch included the first campaign video showcasing local transgender residents who would be affected by termination of the law: The coalition currently boasts approximately 1,500 statewide organizations and influencers who are urging voters to vote “yes” to keep the law in place.

For nearly three years, Freedom for All Americans has dedicated its president of strategy, Kasey Suffredini, as co-chair of the local Freedom for All Massachusetts campaign. Suffredini is a transgender attorney who has worked on LGBTQ rights in Massachusetts for over a decade, including passage of a 2011 bill that ensured protections for transgender people in areas of employment, housing, credit, and education; and passage of the 2016 bill that updated the law to include protections for transgender people in public places. He now plays a leading role in the 2018 ballot campaign to uphold these protections.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, 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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