Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Support Gender Protections in Massachusetts!

On March 4th, the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing for HB 1722 "An Act Relative to Gender Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes". If you live in MA, please call your state rep in support of this bill - here's how.

I lobbied for this bill back in May as part of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) Lobby Day - it was actually a "lobby date" with my soon-to-be boyfriend. We wandered around the state house, entering legislators' offices and explaining our individual connections to the bill. I talked about my dad, he talked about himself. Then we walked through the Boston Common and had lunch in Copley Square. It was a memorable super SOFFA experience and one of my favorite dates of all time. Although we're no longer together, I hope the bill passes for his sake, and for all of the other transgender and gender non-conforming people still living in Massachusetts.

Since I am still in California and too far away to testify at the hearing, I submitted the following written testimony:

My name is Monica and I lived in Jamaica Plain, MA, until late 2007, when I moved to San Francisco to work for COLAGE, a national organization of people with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer parents. I am completing a fellowship at COLAGE to expand their Kids of Trans program and develop resources for people with transgender parents.

My father is a transgender woman who transitioned from male to female in western Massachusetts about ten years ago. She found it difficult to maintain a career while facing discrimination as a transgender woman. Eventually, she took a job with a corporation in Vermont with human resources policies prohibiting gender based discrimination. She was forced to make a long commute, keeping her from spending time with my 14-year old sister. Last year, she and her partner finally decided to leave Massachusetts permanently to move to Vermont, one of a growing number of states with protections against gender-based discrimination.

HB 1722 would provide much needed protections for families like mine, families with one or more transgender parent(s). As the daughter of a transgender person, I have witnessed the impacts of transgender discrimination on my family. My father has struggled to support our family and found that her best option was to leave the state. Passage of this legislation would provide transgender parents, like my dad, with the opportunity to work and live in Massachusetts without fear of discrimination.

Thank you for your consideration of my family in the passage of HB 1722, An Act Related to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes.

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