BOSTON, Mass.—In response to the release of official guidance by Attorney General Maura Healey’s office and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) on implementing Massachusetts’ new transgender rights law, MassEquality’s Executive Director, Deborah Shields, JD, MPH, released the following statement:
“MassEquality congratulates the Attorney General’s office and MCAD on producing such clear guidance for the implementation of the new transgender public accommodations law, and thanks them for helping to ensure that the law will be enforced fairly.
“This is an important milestone in the state’s march towards full equality and justice for all citizens. We’re very pleased with the guidance from the Attorney General and MCAD’s offices. The guidelines are clear, fair, and protect the safety of all people in Massachusetts. Finally, transgender people have safe and secure access to all public accommodations in the state. We look forward to October 1 when the law goes into full effect and we can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the public safety of all people will be protected.”
The transgender anti-discrimination law was passed by the Senate on May 12th with a vote of 33 to 4, and the House version of the bill passed on June 1st with a vote of 116-36. A compromise bill reconciling language differences between the House and Senate versions was released from a conference committee on July 6th. The following day, the bill was passed by both the Senate and the House by wide margins. The bill was signed into law by Governor Baker on July 8th.
MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
[From a News Release]
Today Attorney General Healey’s office and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination issued formal guidance related to enforcement of the transgender protections law, which provides explicit protections for transgender residents of Massachusetts in public places, including restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and public restrooms and facilities.
As required by the law, the guidance addresses how to establish a sincerely held gender identity and when to refer an individual to law enforcement in the exceedingly rare event that an individual asserts a gender identity for an improper purpose, such as to engage in unlawful conduct. The law goes into full effect on October 1.
Kasey Suffredini and Mason Dunn, co-chairs of Freedom Massachusetts, the successful bipartisan campaign to pass the law, released the following statement:
“Today’s guidance provides businesses and the public clear instructions for implementing the transgender protections law. It ensures that young people and adults in Massachusetts will not be inappropriately referred to law enforcement just for being transgender while simultaneously addressing concerns about privacy and safety, which we all value. We look forward to seeing this important law go into effect on October 1 and the positive impact it will have on families and communities across our great state.”
Karen Young, vice president and chief inclusion officer of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, released the following statement:
“At Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, we promote transgender-inclusive policies that have improved the lives of our employees, members, and their families, without causing harm to anyone. HPHC knows firsthand the positive impact of protecting all Massachusetts residents, including transgender people. We are grateful for the clarity of this guidance in order to help businesses and other places of public accommodation comply with this important law.”
Freedom Massachusetts is the bipartisan campaign working to ensure all people are treated fairly and equally under the law.