Governor Patrick Signs Transgender Equal Rights Bill
The Massachusetts governor signed the bill this week.
Governor Deval Patrick signed H.3810, “An Act Relative To Gender Identity," historic legislation to legally protect transgender individuals from discrimination in housing, education, employment and credit. The new law, signed at the State House today, also provides additional civil rights and protections from hate crimes.
“No individual should face discrimination because of who they are,” said Governor Patrick. “This legislation gives Massachusetts the necessary tools to stop hate crimes against transgender people and to treat others fairly. I am proud to sign it.”
“Massachusetts strives to be an inclusive Commonwealth, and this new law acknowledges that discrimination against any person will not be tolerated,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.
The transgender equal rights law will make Massachusetts the 16th state to treat transgender citizens as a protected class. The law modifies language in Massachusetts statute to protect all individuals from discrimination, regardless of gender identities. This change will create equal protections for transgender individuals seeking employment, housing, credit and education. There are approximately 33,000 transgender residents living in Massachusetts.
The new law will also increase the state’s ability to prosecute criminal conduct in the form of hate crimes against transgender individuals, a community that has historically experienced disproportionate levels of harassment and violence.
“Today is a another step toward ensuring equal protections for all citizens and eradicating discrimination in our Commonwealth,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “For too long, transgender people have suffered in silence in seeking employment, safe housing and educational opportunities. With the signing of this bill, Massachusetts has created a better, and fairer, future for all residents, regardless of their gender identity or expression.”
-Press release contributed by the Office of the Governor.