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You are protected from discrimination based on gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation in:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Credit
  • Public spaces
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • State or local government services

You are protected from discrimination in accessing healthcare.

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.

You have the right to have your identity respected in all spaces including housing and medical care.

You can designate who you want to make your financial decisions in case you are unable to make them. This is called a power of attorney.

You can designate who you want to make your health care decisions in case you are unable to
make them. This is called a health care proxy.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Discrimination

Massachusetts bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in private and public schools.

The ban makes it unlawful, because of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, to:

  • Exclude a person from, deny a person the benefits of, or subject a person to discrimination in any academic, extracurricular, research, occupational training or other program or activity;
  • Deny a person equal opportunity in athletic programs;
  • Exclude any person from any program or activity;
  • Deny admission to an institution or program or to fail to provide equal access to any information about an institution or program through recruitment; or
  • Deny financial assistance availability and opportunity.

Note:  There are some exemptions for educational facilities owned or operated by religious corporations, associations, or societies.


You have the right to attend school in safety and free from discrimination and harassment based on your sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

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.

Schools must respect your gender identity, including allowing you to dress and present yourself in a manner consistent with your gender identity.

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


Title IX is a federal law that bans sex discrimination in schools that receive federal funding (nearly all public schools). Many courts have interpreted “sex discrimination” as applying to discrimination experienced by transgender students, and those who don’t meet gender stereotypes or expectations.

Title IX is enforced by the United States Department of Education. If you have been discriminated against based on your transgender identity, you have 180 days after the discrimination or harassment occurred to file a complaint with the United States Department of Education. We believe Title IX protects transgender students.  The Supreme Court has taken up the question as to whether sex discrimination encompasses LGBTQ people, so more guidance is forthcoming.

More information about Title IX and filing a complaint can be found at the National Center for Transgender Equality.


Your school must keep you safe from bullying, harassment and violence by teachers, staff, or other students.

Bullying is identified as an act (in person or electronically) directed against a student by another student or a group of students that:

  • is repeated over time
  • is intended to ridicule, humiliate or intimidate
  • substantially interferes with a student’s right to a safe education regardless of
    whether it happens on or off school grounds

In some circumstances, instances of race-based and sex-based bullying can create a hostile school environment.

A hostile school environment exists when verbal, written, visual or physical conduct (including by electronic means) by another student or school employee is:

  • sexual in nature (sexual harassment) and/or race-based
  • sufficiently severe and pervasive
  • compromises or interferes with educational opportunities normally available
    to students

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.

Massachusetts’ anti-bullying law also applies to some private schools. Check your school’s handbook for your school’s policy.

Among other categories, the law protects LGBTQ students and identifies sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression as factors that may cause students to be targeted by bullying


For more information about your rights and protections, and for referrals, you can contact GLAD Answers, GLAD’s free & confidential legal information line: call 800-455-GLAD, email GLADAnswers@glad.org, or visit: www.GLADAnswers.org anytime.

June 2020