State Senate Approves Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill

Lead sponsor, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, celebrates after senate approval. (Photograph courtesy of Christina Gregg.)

Massachusetts state senators overwhelmingly approved Thursday a bill that would ensure explicit protections for transgender people in public places in Massachusetts, including parks, restaurants, hospitals and public restrooms.

Of the 38 sitting state senators, the vote was 33 to 4 in favor with one member absent. Locally, only Sen. Bruce E. Tarr, the Republican minority leader from Gloucester, voted against the measure. Nearly all amendments, including three by Tarr and one by Sen. Kathleen Connor Ives (D-Newburyport), were rejected as weakening the bill. Ives’ amendment would have clarified “Nothing in the legislation shall be construed to compel sex-segregated bathroom facilities to be converted to unisex bathroom facilities.” Asked about the intention of the amendment, Ives’ Communications Coordinator Joseph Masciangioli said, “Her concern was about possible misinterpretation of the bill.”

Sen. Kathleen O'Connor Ives.

Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives.

“Legislation passed in Massachusetts in 2011 prohibited discrimination based on gender identity in housing, education, employment and credit. Senate Bill 735 closes a gap in the Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination laws by protecting transgender individuals in the full use and enjoyment of restaurants, museums, parks, theaters, hotels and other facilities,” Ives said after passage. Ives was not among the original 31 sponsors of the measure.

Sen. Barbara A. L’Italien (D-Andover), an original co-sponsor, lauded its passage.

“As a mom, I know the importance of making sure young people are fully supported and loved. This bill is about making sure all transgender people feel happy, safe and healthy. And it’s about fairness—it’s not about fear. Today’s passage in the senate shows that Massachusetts continues to be a leader on LGBT issues,” L’Italien said.

Sen. Barbara A. L’Italien.

Sen. Barbara A. L’Italien.

The only amendment to pass was an emergency preamble from Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, lead sponsor. The preamble requires the law to go into immediate effect upon approval of the house and signature of Gov. Charlie Baker.

“Today’s historic passage of the transgender protections bill in the Massachusetts Senate sends a message the transgender community has longed for decades to hear – that we are truly welcome and valued in our Commonwealth, and that our contributions are a part of the fabric that allows Massachusetts to thrive and prosper,” said Kasey Suffredini, co-chair of Freedom Massachusetts, the bipartisan campaign working to pass the bill. “We are grateful to Senate President Rosenberg and the bill’s lead sponsor since 2010, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, for their determined leadership in bringing us to this victory. They have raised the bar on what being a champion for LGBT equality looks like, and in the process, they have saved lives. We urge the House to swiftly bring this bill to a vote and bring it one step closer to the governor’s desk and becoming law. Massachusetts is ready.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Attorney General Maura Healey praised state senators.

“Today the senate stood up for the transgender people in our state who have suffered discrimination and harassment for far too long without these critical legal protections in place. I thank Senate President Rosenberg, Sen. Chang-Diaz and their colleagues for their support for this important bill and I look forward to the house following suit very soon. We should not tolerate discrimination of any kind in our public spaces and it’s time we join the 17 other states that already extend these protections. This is a simple bill, but one that is incredibly meaningful. I am optimistic that we will do the right thing and get this law on the books,” Healey said.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina for its new law requiring discrimination against transgender people. The state has lost millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs since passing the law, and billions more in federal funding are at stake.

In total, according to Freedom Massachusetts, “the transgender protections bill has gained support from more than 250 businesses, 350 clergy and congregations, 11 labor unions representing more than 750,000 families, leading law enforcement organizations, 16 Massachusetts-based women’s groups and advocates against violence and sexual assault, the entire MA congressional delegation, all of New England’s champion sports teams, bipartisan leaders in the House and Senate and more.”

16 thoughts on “State Senate Approves Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill

  1. “This bill is about making sure all transgender people feel happy” –

    This is what it’s about, “feelings”. It is the usurpation of biology at the chromosomal level. Title IX specifically addresses SEX, not what your feeling are. No amount of surgery by addition or deletion, and no amount of drugs will change the biological fact that one is either male or female.

    Maybe someday, technology will advance where a uterus can be implanted into a man and change the chromosomal makeup of said man, and turn them into a female, or vice-versa with a penis and testicles. That day is not today. Once again, political correctness is usurping science, but I surmise since pols in MA already usurp sound mathematical principles, why not do it here too?

      • Oh Jack Haverhill our lead ass-hat. Don’t you mean the sausage party or circle jerk. You are such a tease you sneaky closet queen you. Do not fret, Rich (Can we just call him DICK), SlipperCity, Duncan, and the other Jack will all be there for you. Bring plenty of tissues guys and stay out of public restrooms

    • Thanks for copying, pasting and rearranging your thoughts from the internet. Or maybe you really are a genetic miracle yourself and you are really a chimera. Somehow you have developed into both a total ass-hat but also somehow had the capacity to obtain a PhD in Chromosomal Biology. Stranger things have happened. I once saw a goat with 3 heads. Please post a shirtless picture for us all on twitter so we can see if you have 3 nipples. I have a bet to win and we might need to find a special bathroom for you. Even Target might have issues with you ass-hats in their bathrooms so I woudl check with management before leaving your moms basement.

      • I’m all for free speech Tim, but this troll “Jerry” is toxic, and possibly mentally unstable, as they come and adds absolutely zero to the conversation. FWIW, banning toxic trolls would benefit your site imo.

        • Duncan is all for free speech accept when he doesn’t appreciate it. The Cons version of being politically correct is to scream TOXIC and ban that person for having a different opinion.

  2. If a white man who “identifies” himself as a black man doesn’t get hired for an Affirmative Action job because he clearly isn’t a black man, can he sue for racial discrimination?

    • Looks like our unfriendly neighborhood ass-hat has another fart nugget of wisdom to reveal to us today. Thanks Jack for your insight. How many puppies did you eat for breakfast today? Can you please make sure you yell extra loud and scary at all the school children walking by your house today. Keep it positive dude. We are all counting on you to keep it mean.

  3. I will NOT be using public rest rooms anytime soon. This misguided law, if also approved by the Massachusetts House, is going to cause all sorts of problems for everyone.

    • Good, Thank you and go away. No one cares what you think. However I really do appreciate the self-restraint you are showing as perv yourself. Our bathrooms are much safer (and way cleaner) without an ass-hat like you peeing next to our kids.

    • I believe some long overdue education is needed for SlipperCity. SlipperCity have you ever needed something so badly that it caused tears to run down your cheeks? I’m sure you have, maybe better health for a loved or maybe because you were afraid of what someone else may think, did your mom sew dresses for you? Please just think for a minute. Now try to imagine being born a girl but you didn’t like girl things and everyone said walk like a little lady, etc. You didn’t feel anything like a girl should and you keep worrying and then the peditrician tells your Mom that you may be transgender. you may have a girls shell but inside you were a boy. That’s why you like to play ball, wrestle, run faster than the girls, Play video games with your brother… The start you on hormones and soon you have a beard, hairy chest, your breasts have stopped maturing and if you have a really good health insurance plan they will provide therapy and doctors who understand how best to help you so that you don’t suicide or do something more violent to yourself or just sink into a depression that doesn’t go away. Now imagine that your personal area is still a girl but you have a full beard, mens haircut, mens clothing, even the spicy rush of mens cologne. Okay, NOW imagine you need to urinate – where do you go? The ladies room matches your private area but enter there and everyone screams and runs out shouting, “Man in the ladies room and a couple husbands go in to straighten you out. OR you go in the Mens room, enter a stall, take care of business, wash your hands and leave. What is the problem? None of us were born perfect and none will die perfect but between living and dying we can bend some to help our fellow human beings, take care of our children and elderly and ask for guidance from whoever you pray to for help. As a sidenote: Ladies Rooms have stalls with doors, most Mens rooms also have a stall with a door so what difference does it make who is using the stall next to you, it could be a transgender woman, a nurse, a female attorney, a female Rugby player, or a female felon on the run with three murders to go to trial for as soon as she is found, so what deference does it make because what you see when judging a person and what is the truth is rarely one and the same. Well, SlipperCity I did treat your comment as from a female if I am wrong please change the words accordingly, thank you very much for reading this, now please say a prayer and ask for help with your bigotry!

      • Now think about this. You are an older female, don’t weigh very much over 100 pounds, and not much over five feet tall. A brawny male, one who is obviously a male, and dresses as a man enters a ladies room. How am I to distinguish between a person who actually identifies as a female and one who intends to do me harm?

        I don’t need re-education, and I don’t have a problem with folks who have gender identification issues or any other issue; but I need to feel that I am safe in a ladies room, and the little girls who enter the ladies rooms are also safe, else I will not use said facility, and no one should have a problem with that. I have no problem with anyone who may masquerade as a female and appears to be a female. I want to be safe wherever I go, and have that right. I still believe that this misguided proposal will have unintended consequences.