Fenway Health is a federally qualified health center that serves LGBT people and the broader community. More than 1,700 of our 28,000 patients cared for annually are transgender. We are a proud supporter of the Freedom Massachusetts coalition, which is a bipartisan campaign working to update the Bay State’s non-discrimination laws to fully protect our transgender friends, family, and neighbors.
Our friends at Freedom Massachusetts have passed along an important campaign update to share with you: In the next few days, Speaker Robert DeLeo is polling members of the House to count support for this critical civil rights legislation.
In the coming days, state representatives will be asked whether they support updating our state’s public accommodation law to prohibit gender identity discrimination, and their answer will determine whether or not Speaker DeLeo calls this critical civil rights bill to a vote this year. Fenway Health is asking all to join us in taking action on this important issue by rushing a message to Speaker DeLeo and your Representative to urge them to support this bill, SB 735/HB 1577.
This bill isn’t complicated; it simply brings the prohibitions on gender identity discrimination in line with the rest of Massachusetts’ nondiscrimination laws. This bill is necessary to fully protect the health and well-being of transgender Bay Staters. A 2013 survey of 452 transgender Massachusetts residents found that 65% of respondents reported discrimination in public accommodations in the past 12 months, which was found to be associated with negative physical and mental health outcomes. Supporting this bill is not only the fair thing to do—to protect all people from the negative effects of discrimination—it’s also a change backed by a growing coalition of more than 300 businesses, including every professional sports team in New England.
As highlighted in a recent Boston Globe column, many transgender and gender non-conforming people who are hurt by discrimination in public accommodations are children or teenagers – some of the most vulnerable and in need of support among us.
Right now this important legislation is stalled, and we are asking for your help. By contacting Speaker DeLeo and your representatives in support of the bill over the next few days, you can help to determine whether or not transgender Bay Staters will continue to be unfairly denied explicit protections from discrimination in places like restaurants, hotels, and medical offices.
Click here to visit Freedom Massachusetts’ site to contact Speaker DeLeo and your representative before it’s too late. Send a message now telling your Representative that you- and a majority of Bay Staters – want them to advance legislation fully protecting transgender people this year. In addition to emailing, you can also call Speaker DeLeo and your State Representative at 617.722.2000.
We at Fenway Health thank you for standing up against discrimination with us and for supporting our transgender and gender non-conforming community.
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