Bryn McCarthy*/Special to TRT—
YES on Question 3
Maybe, if you live in Boston, you’ve seen me on the street. Like most Boston students, I’m frequently lugging around a backpack filled with textbooks, t-shirt emblazoned with a university logo, running into the nearest coffee shop to get my last paper done before midnight.
Unlike most Boston students, if Question 3 on the November ballot fails to pass, there’s a chance that I will not be able to get service at that coffee shop, or at another place of public accommodation in Massachusetts, because of my transgender identity. Voting YES on Question 3 would preserve current state law that protects transgender individuals in Massachusetts against discrimination in access or treatment in places of public accommodation, including hospitals, restaurants, and libraries.
Every year, 152,000 students converge in Boston to obtain higher education, with hundreds of thousands more attending colleges and universities across Massachusetts. About 1,800 of them attend Simmons University, a small women-centered university in the historic Fenway neighborhood of Boston. As those students continue with their school year, I want them to feel safe knowing that they can access the public resources that will allow them to succeed.
No student attending an institution of higher education in Massachusetts should feel as if they have fewer rights than their peers because they are transgender. As an alum of Simmons University, I am proud that Simmons supports YES on Question 3, valuing the experience of all who live in Massachusetts irrespective of their gender identity.
In November, Massachusetts voters will take the first statewide vote on transgender rights in American history. When my parents, friends, professors, and neighbors head to the polls this November, I know they are voting YES on Question 3 because they care about the rights of people like me. With a YES vote, students in Massachusetts will feel safer here, knowing they have strong support from their community and that they won’t have to worry about being discriminated against in public spaces.
As Massachusetts stands as a leader in creating opportunity in higher education, I hope its voters will continue to support anti-discrimination policies that enable all students a safe and equitable environment for them to pursue their future and achieve success.
*Bryn McCarthy is from Newburyport, MA. She graduated from Simmons in May 2018 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Political Science at Columbia University in New York City.