Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Call to Action: An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes

The state of Massachusetts has a bill on the floor titled, "An Act Relative to Gender-Based
Discrimination and Hate Crimes" (H.1728/S.1687). This proposed law would prohibit discrimination in employment, lending, housing, education, and public accommodations on the basis of a person's gender identity or expression. It also adds gender identity and expression
to the hate crimes statute, which reflects the heightened level of violence experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming people.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is currently reaching out to have people write letters to two judiciary co-chairs. There is a sample letter below for your use. All you have to do is print and sign the letters and mail them out. It will take five minutes and about a buck in postage, but it could mean saving some one's job, home or even life.

Please feel free to email Calyb Hare if you have any questions about the bill, about the work the MTPC is doing or have additional questions about what it means to show your support via the letter.

Mail one letters each to;

Senator Cynthia Stone Creem
Senate Staff
: Room 416B
State House
Boston, MA 02133

Representative Eugene L. O'Flaherty
House Staff: Room 136
State House
Boston, MA 02133

Calyb Hare
244 Cedar St, #3
Somerville, MA 02144


and email a hard copy to calybhare@gmail.com or fax to 781-902-7598

It's very important that Calyb Hare get a copy of your letter via fax, email or snail mail so that he can add it to our total packet to present to the full committee.

__________________________________________________________________

Sample Letter:

Senator Cynthia Stone Creem
State House Room 416B
Boston, MA 02133

Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty
State House Room 136
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Senator Creem, Representative O’Flaherty, and Members of the Committee:

I live in Massachusetts, and I am writing to ask you to support “An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes” (H.1728/S.1687). This proposed law would prohibit discrimination in employment, lending, housing, education, and public accommodations on the basis of a person's gender identity or expression. It also adds gender identity and expression to the hate crimes statute, which reflects the heightened level of violence experienced by transgender and gender non-conforming people.

I believe this bill is important because transgender people and others whose gender does not conform to rigid stereotypes are often harmed by harassment, discrimination, and violence. For example, transgender people are routinely fired by their employers either before or after transitioning from one sex to another; many others remain unemployed or underemployed as a result of discrimination, hostility and misunderstanding about transgender people. Widespread prejudices about how "real men" or "real women" should look or act often lead to harassment and unfair treatment in public accommodations, housing, and credit transactions.

This legislation is vital to our community. Transgender people face discrimination in many aspects of their lives. They are often harassed at work as well as on the street. They have been denied both routine and life saving emergency medical treatment due to their status as transgender. In countless dehumanizing ways, transgender people are denied opportunities to provide for their basic needs. The Massachusetts legislature has a chance this year to send a very different message; passing this bill makes it clear that Massachusetts values all of its residents, and protects all of them equally against discrimination and violence.

I urge you to support this bill, which represents an important step towards equality for all citizens of the Commonwealth. It is time for Massachusetts to join the 13 other states and dozens of municipalities that already protect their citizens on this basis, and once again take its rightful place as a leader in the struggle for equality for all people.

Sincerely,

Your Name

___________________________________________________________________

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