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GLAD’s Jennifer Levi Testifies in Support of Transgender Equality

Jennifer Levi, Director of the Transgender Rights Project for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, testified today at the Massachusetts Statehouse in support of a bill providing protections in public accommodations for the state’s transgender citizens. 

Testimony on SB 735 and HB 1577 was heard before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Current non-discrimination law in the Commonwealth does not expressly protect transgender people in public accommodations, such as stores, restaurants, hospitals, public transportation, and parks.

“In failing to expressly protect its most marginalized citizens as they go about their daily business, Massachusetts is falling behind in its leadership role on equality for all,” said Levi in her testimony, the full text of which can be read here on GLAD’s website. “Being able to point to a statewide policy of inclusion and support will give me and many others the authority we often need to respond when others are telling us to leave a public space or that we are wrong to be there.”

An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination would add “gender identity” to existing Massachusetts civil rights law for public accommodations. Massachusetts law currently prohibits discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, religion, and marital status. GLAD is a member of the coalition Freedom Massachusetts, which has been working for passage of the bill.