On July 1st, An Act Relative to Gender Identity also known as the Transgender Equal Rights Bill will become effective in Massachusetts. This is a historic moment as Massachusetts becomes the sixteenth state to pass legislation protecting the rights of transgender people.
The Law defines ‘gender identity’ essentially as the identity that one wishes to identify oneself as, rather than assigning physiological gender to everyone. On July 1st, the definition of hate crimes will be expanded to include those based on gender identity. Discrimination based on gender identity will be illegal in the areas of housing, employment, public education and credit.
The Act, passed in the House and Senate in mid-November 2011, is the result of many years of hard work led by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and thousands of transgender people and allies. Although they faced severe opposition and prejudice, their tenacity prevailed and finally Massachusetts will treat transgender citizens as a legally protected class.
We at the Boston Women’s Fund would like to celebrate this achievement of social justice. However this wonderful accomplishment is also a reminder of what is left to be done, for the protection and equal rights of transgender people everywhere, and for our shared goal of eradiating all types of discrimination.