Skip Header to Content
GLAD Logo GLAD Logo Skip Primary Navigation to Content

Know Your LGBTQ Rights, Massachusetts!

(Kreyòl ayisyen) (普通话) (Português)



MA law bans discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression in:

  • Employment: you cannot be denied employment, fired, or otherwise discriminated against at work based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.
  • Credit
  • Housing: visit this Q&A page for frequent questions about housing discrimination.
  • Public accommodations: these include businesses or places that are open to the public. Think doctors’ offices and hospitals, bars, restaurants, health clubs, hotels, and agencies that provide services. You cannot be denied access or treated differently in any of these places.
  • Healthcare: the MA Division of Insurance has issued a state-specific bulletin that prohibits discrimination in insurance coverage and denial of medically necessary treatment on the basis of gender identity or gender dysphoria.
  • Education

Single LGBTQ people can adopt children in MA.

A person in a same-gender relationship can adopt their partner’s biological child.

LGBTQ partners can adopt a child together, regardless of marital status (joint adoption).

For unmarried partners who use ART to create their family, when your child is born, you have the right to establish parentage through the VAP (Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage) process.


Most insurers are prohibited from excluding transition-related health care from coverage | GLAD

MA has a state-specific bulletin regarding transition-related health care. |

MA law bans discrimination in health care based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression and health insurance plans cannot categorically exclude treatment for gender dysphoria.

The June 12, 2020 HHS ruling regarding Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act does not supersede state laws. MA non-discrimination laws will continue to protect access to public accommodations for trans and gender non-conforming people. The Section 1557 rule will not affect MA state laws. Click here for MassHealth’s gender affirming surgery guidelines.


The transmission of HIV is not criminalized in MA

MA has HIV testing laws that protect against coerced and/or uninformed testing: you cannot be required to take an HIV test; your oral consent is required

MA law protects the privacy of HIV status: medical providers cannot reveal to anyone your HIV test results or status unless you give specific consent in writing

MA law bans discrimination based on HIV status

Permission from anyone else is not required to be tested for HIV, even if you are under 18

For more information about your rights as an HIV-positive person in MA, see this page.


Changing gender on an MA drivers license, MA state ID, or birth certificate is straightforward

Need help updating your gender marker? Contact our Transgender ID Project.

For more information regarding transgender rights in MA, see this page.


MA has an LGBTQ-inclusive anti-bullying law: your school must have anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies, and each year you and your parents or guardians must be given notice of those policies.

MA provides guidance on the fair treatment of transgender students: your school must provide you equal access to, and allow you to participate on equal terms in, all school programs, including extracurricular activities and sports.

The formation of GSAs in school (with the same privileges and resources as all other school groups) are protected by MA law

For more, see Know Your Rights MA Students.

For information about your rights in the juvenile justice system, foster care, or while getting DCF services, see this page.



For more information about your rights and protections, and for referrals, you can contact GLAD Answers, GLAD’s free & confidential legal information line. Your LGBTQ and HIV legal rights resource!

M–F 1:30–4:30 p.m. EST

June 2020