Haverhill Supports Inclusivity as Council Backs Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law

Haverhill is lending its support to protect transgender residents against discrimination. (File photograph.)

Before voters submit their ballots on Nov. 6, a Haverhill resident asked the City Council for their support of a Massachusetts non-discrimination law.

On Tuesday, Nicolas J. Golden went before the council to ask that they adopt a resolution in support of voting yes on Question 3 on the state ballot. The question asks voters whether or not they support Senate Bill 2407, which was enacted back in 2016 to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in public places. Voting no would see the law repealed.

Golden spoke of a time when his grandmother took him the Boston Public Library to see an Italian History Month exhibit featuring Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian criminals who were executed for the murders of a guard and paymaster during a 1920 armed bank robbery. It is heavily believed anti-Italianism, anti-immigrant bias influenced the court verdict. Golden’s grandmother, who was Italian, took the issue to heart, not seeing it as political, but as a matter that affected her personally. He compared her take to how Question 3 affects transgender citizens, saying this question affects their very lives.

“It’s about whether they have the same rights, that we all do, to live our lives. To them, it’s personal; something that they cannot ignore. That is why I stand before you tonight,” Golden said.

Golden said that prior to Senate Bill 2407 being passed, half of transgender citizens in Massachusetts reported being discriminated against. Golden finished by asking to council to show they treat transgender people as they would treat anyone else.

Alexander Chandler, a transgender woman and former 3rd district congressional candidate, also spoke to the council in support of the resolution. Saying that she appreciated the council’s consideration of the matter, Chandler said it was exhausting and emotional to have her rights on the ballot and the issue cuts to the core of basic dignity. She asked that the council speak for transgender residents in Haverhill who think they cannot speak out for themselves.

“You can show them that you are their representative as much as anybody else and that this city is as welcoming to us as it is to anyone else and that we’re open to business for anyone to live and work here,” Chandler said.

The resolution, which supported the law and called Haverhill a place of safety and inclusivity, was unanimously approved eight votes to zero, with Councilor William J. Macek being absent.