Lambda Legal Applauds Massachusetts Legislature for Passage of Transgender Rights Bill
"We applaud the Massachusetts legislature for passing legislation that will provide basic protections to the thousands of transgender people in Massachusetts."
(New York, November 16, 2011)—Today, after both the Massachusetts House and Senate passed a bill that amends the commonwealth's nondiscrimination laws and existing hate crime laws to include gender identity and expression, Lambda Legal Supervising Senior Staff Attorney Greg Nevins issued the following statement:
"We applaud the Massachusetts legislature for passing legislation that will provide basic protections to the thousands of transgender people in Massachusetts. This bill will protect transgender people in housing, credit, and the workplace, and would include transgender people under hate crimes protections. While this bill still does not include critical protections in public accommodations, this is a great step towards fairness for transgender people in the commonwealth.
"Massachusetts is poised to become the sixteenth state in the nation to explicitly include gender identity and expression in its non-discrimination laws and we congratulate our colleagues at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the other organizations that worked so tirelessly for this historic victory.
"Since the beginning of this year, four more states have changed their sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws to include protections for transgender workers. There is momentum towards equality and fairness for transgender people in this country, and we hope that legislatures in New York and Maryland will follow Massachusetts' example.
"While Massachusetts moves forward, there are too many places in our country where the fight for laws against discrimination is stalled. In this economy, everyone can understand the fears of LGBT Americans who face discrimination in employment without a federal law that makes clear to employers that such discrimination is illegal. In fact, Americans overwhelmingly support job protections for transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We need Congress to pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) to provide workplace protection for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the country.
"We are grateful to transgender people like our client, Vandy Beth Glenn, and others who stand up against discrimination. We are proud of the Massachusetts lawmakers who voted for fairness and we thank Governor Patrick for his leadership and his continued work to support LGBT rights. Until Congress passes ENDA, we will keep fighting with every law and constitutional protection we can use to safeguard the rights of LGBT people."
Lambda Legal is currently representing Vandy Beth Glenn, a transgender woman who was fired from her job as Legislative Editor for the Georgia General Assembly after she told her employer that she planned to transition from male to female. Greg Nevins will argue this case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on December 1.
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Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.