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Transgender bill passes Massachusetts House and Senate

November 22nd, 2011  |  Deborah Hammonds

Massachusetts has joined the growing list of states that have passed anti-discrimination protections for individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Earlier this month, state legislators passed H.48, An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer E. Benson, will amend Chapter 19A of the General Laws to prevent and eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The Act is also intended to improve access to services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders and caregivers.

“This legislation is the next step in our forward path of extending equal protections to all citizens and eradicating discrimination in our Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, commending legislators for their action. “For too long, transgender people have suffered in silence in seeking employment, safe housing and educational opportunities. This legislation puts Massachusetts on a course for ensuring a better, and fairer, future for our residents and makes clear that people are entitled to equal protection regardless of their gender identity or expression.”

“There are opponents who have attempted to stoke fears about the implications of this bill. In doing so, they grossly mischaracterize what this bill does and who it protects. This bill only increases our ability to prosecute criminal conduct and protect the civil rights of all, and does nothing to restrict our ability to protect victims of any crime,” she concluded.