State legislature passes Transgender Equal Rights Bill


Governor Patrick is expected to sign legislation outlawing discrimination in employment, education, housing, and credit against transgender residents.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CONTACT:
Christopher Ott, Communications Director, 617-482-3170 x322, cott@aclum.org

BOSTON -- Today, the state Senate followed the lead of the House last night and passed a Transgender Equal Rights Bill, which will outlaw discrimination in employment, education, housing, and credit against transgender residents. Governor Patrick is expected to sign the legislation.

"This bill gives transgender people an equal shot at obtaining everyday basics we all need--a job, a place to live, an education. It's a major step forward for fairness, but we won't stop working until transgender people are fully protected under the Commonwealth's civil rights laws, including in public accommodations," said Gavi Wolfe, legislative counsel for the ACLU of Massachusetts.

The bill addresses problems faced by thousands of Massachusetts residents. A February 2011 study by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force found that 76 percent of the estimated 33,000 transgender people in Massachusetts have been harassed on the job because of their gender identity; 20 percent have lost a job because of their gender identity; and 17 percent have been denied a promotion because they are transgender.

In the realm of housing, 17 percent of transgender residents have been denied housing because of their gender identity, and 10 percent of transgender residents have been homeless because they could not find work.

Passing this bill to outlaw discrimination costs the state nothing, and in fact it will help save money. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts spends at least $3 million annually on public benefits for transgender residents who are eligible to work but can't find a job because of the discrimination they face.

Massachusetts now joins 15 other states, the District of Columbia, and 136 cities and towns around the country that have passed laws and ordinances protecting transgender people from discrimination.

The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote. The House voted 95-58, and the House vote tally is here:
http://aclum.org/sites/all/files/legislative/2011/trans/mass_trans_house...

The ACLU of Massachusetts supported the Transgender Equal Rights Bill and worked for its passage over many years together with the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition:
http://www.masstpc.org/