VICTORY: Massachusetts Voters Uphold Protections for Transgender People in Historic Ballot Question

by Madeleine Roberts

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, celebrated a historic victory in Massachusetts where voters upheld non-discrimination protections for transgender people in public spaces. Question 3 - which asked voters whether to maintain a 2016 law protecting transgender people from discrimination in critical public accommodations including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, stores and public transportation - was the first time gender identity non-discrimination protections were on a statewide ballot independent of protections based on sexual orientation.

HRC serves as a founding executive committee member of Freedom for All Massachusetts, a coalition of national and state equal rights organizations, which led the successful Yes on 3 Campaign. The multi-year coalition effort also included organizational partners like Freedom for All Americans, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, GLAD, ACLU of Massachusetts, Boston Alliance of Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Youth, Mass Equality, Greater Boston PFLAG and Fenway Health.

"At a critical moment in the fight for equality, Massachusetts voters sent a powerful message that transgender people are loved and welcomed in the Bay State," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "From North Carolina and Virginia to Alaska and Massachusetts, we have demonstrated that when we stand together and fight back against attacks on our progress, we win. The LGBTQ community is indebted to the courage of so many transgender people - particularly young people - who opened hearts, changed minds and laid the foundation for this victory, and the Human Rights Campaign is proud to have been a part of the historic work of the Yes on 3 Campaign."

“Transgender residents of Massachusetts can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their hard-fought protections will remain in place,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride and one of HRC’s representatives on the Yes on 3 Executive Committee. “This was a crucial test for our community and movement. The Yes on 3 Campaign demonstrated that when we tell the stories of transgender people and our families, voters will reject the scare tactics and side with dignity and equality.”

HRC staff, members and supporters have been on the ground throughout the campaign. Two weeks ago, Griffin was in Massachusetts for the Yes on 3 Campaign, speaking at a press conference with educators, parents, transgender youth and actor and activist Laverne Cox. Earlier in the week, McBride, a transgender advocate, headlined a rally in Needham with faith leaders and more than 200 Yes on 3 supporters. Over the course of the campaign, HRC donated $250,000 - and another $75,000 in in-kind contributions - to the Yes on 3 effort, helping to fund critical field staff, polling and digital and television advertisements.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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