On January 17th, over 50 people participated in the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition’s Community Action Day at the Massachusetts State House. They were advocating their legislators to sign on to be cosponsors of “An Act Relative to Equal Access in Hospitals, Public Transportation, Nursing Homes, Supermarkets, Retail Establishments, and all other places open to the public.”

The Act Relative to Gender Identity, originally filed as Transgender Equal Rights Bill, passed by the legislature in 2011 did not include protections within public accommodations section of the nondiscrimination laws. Their goal today was to educate legislators about the necessity of protections in public accommodations, which is any establishment, public or private, that is open to the general public and provides, or endeavors to provide, some goods and/or services to the general public.

The Massachusetts findings from the 2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

58% transgender adults were verbally harassed in a place of public accommodation, including hotels, restaurants, buses, airports and government agencies
22% transgender adults were denied equal treatment by a government agency or official
24% of transgender adults who have interacted with police reported harassment by officers
50% of transgender adults reported being uncomfortable seeking police assistance when needed

For additional information about this legislation, log on to the MTPC website.

(Photo is the Rev. David and Deborah Weekley at the steps of the MA state capital. David is one of the few openly transgender clergy serving in the United Methodist Church.)