August 13, 2013
Boston, MA – Yesterday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB1266), ensuring that transgender students can fully access all school activities, sports teams, programs and facilities – including sex- segregated bathrooms and locker rooms – that match their gender identity.
The Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Coalition, which is working in Massachusetts for the passage of the Transgender Equal Access Bill, issued the following comments in response to the enactment of the California Law:
“We applaud Governor Brown and the state of California for taking this critical step to ensure that transgender youth have their gender identities affirmed and respected at school, and that they have the same opportunities as the rest of their classmates to play sports, participate in physical education classes, school clubs and attend field trips,” said Mason Dunn, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. “Ensuring that transgender students can access sex-segregated facilities and programs consistent with their gender identity is simple and fair, and increasingly becoming the norm, as we saw in Massachusetts when the Department of Elementary and Secondary education released its guidance on supporting transgender students in the Commonwealth’s schools.”
“But while Massachusetts has taken important steps to treat transgender students fairly in our public schools, it remains that transgender young people and adults can still be refused access to public places like hospitals, restaurants, homeless shelters, nursing homes and supermarkets,” added Dunn. “Our legislature can correct this injustice by passing the Equal Access Bill so that transgender residents of the Commonwealth have the same access to vital services and public spaces their fellow residents enjoy.”
“We commend Gov. Brown and the California Legislature for affirming the dignity of transgender youth and for their leadership on issues of transgender equality.” said Kara Suffredini, executive director of MassEquality. “We hope that Massachusetts lawmakers will follow their lead by passing the Equal Access Bill so that all residents of the Commonwealth, including transgender residents, can access our public spaces safely and without fear of discrimination or other unfair treatment.”
About the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition
The Transgender Equal Rights Coalition is working to pass H. 1589/S. 643, “An Act relative to equal access in hospitals, public transportation, nursing homes, supermarkets, retail establishments, and all other places open to the public. Also known as the Equal Access Bill, this legislation would add protections based on gender identity to existing Massachusetts’ civil rights laws governing public accommodations, which currently prohibit discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation or belief, race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, or any physical or mental disability. Gender identity is defined as “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” Members of the coalition include: Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition; MassEquality; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; National Association of Social Workers, MA; Mass Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus; National Organization for Women, MA; ACLU of Massachusetts; Mass. LGBTQ Bar Association and ADL New England.