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Mississippi and North Carolina can now be added to the list of states codifying transgender discrimination. To date, only seventeen states across the country have passed non-discrimination bills protecting transgender citizens in public spaces. Shockingly, Massachusetts isn’t one of them. With Massachusetts lauded as one of the most pro-LGBTQ states in the country my lawmakers have disappointed me with their political foot dragging and staling on our “Bathroom Bill”. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Attorney General Maura Healey fully support the bill. Governor Charlie Baker, however, has declined to take a stance on it.
Baker’s inaction has caused him a national embarrassment—which is a pox on us Bay Staters, too. Just recently the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce rescinded their plans to honor Baker when the group learned of his refusal to take a stand on the transgender public accommodations legislation currently before the State House, and of his intention to attend a Las Vegas conference that would have anti-LGBTQ speakers, and a Texas minister who has said God sent Adolf Hitler for the Jews.
Baker was set to be honored by NGLCC alongside Rep. Joe Kennedy III at a gala dinner in Washington, D.C until Kennedy flat out stated he would not attend the event because of his strong support for transgender rights and the governor’s refusal to move swiftly and affirmatively on the bill that would protect transgenders as full citizens of the Commonwealth.
This sort of inaction by lawmakers makes it increasingly unsafe and difficult for our transgender denizens to engage in the simple activity of simply going out to grab something to eat, that cisgendered people can take for granted, without the angst, anguish and fear of navigating their bathroom restrictions.
Across the country, however, this sort of amped-up fear-mongering of the “predatory heterosexual male pervert” or “Peeping Tom” has halted or canned movement forward in getting needed transgender public accommodations bills passed. And obstructionists’ claims against the bill, purporting to have nothing against transgender people, state their positions are to protect women and children from countless deviant men who would pretend to be transgender.
To date, however, there is no evidence to corroborate the fear. As a matter-of-fact, Chief William G. Brooks III of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association said “There is no reason to believe that individuals—whether transgender or otherwise—will use these protections as cover to enter into the restroom or locker room of the opposite