The Massachusetts House and Senate passed an important civil rights bill, An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights, which seeks to extend protection of the Commonwealth’s non-discrimination laws to transgender people. The Boston Bar Association has supported this bill for several years and recently submitted testimony in support of its passage. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
“Discrimination against individuals who are gender non-conforming is both dehumanizing and inconsistent with the bedrock principle of justice for all,” said BBA President Lisa C. Goodheart. “Massachusetts now has an opportunity to take an important step forward, and we urge the Senate to approve this bill as a matter of access to justice and equal protection.”
The bill passed by the legislature would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in jobs, housing, insurance, mortgage loans and credit. Gender identity would be defined as “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” The bill would also make offenses against transgender people subject to treatment as hate crimes.