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Boston Bar Applauds Advancement of Transgender Civil Rights Bill

The Massachusetts House and Senate passed an important civil rights bill, An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights, which seeks to extend protection of the Commonwealth’s non-discrimination laws to transgender people. The Boston Bar Association has supported this bill for several years and recently submitted testimony in support of its passage. The bill now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature.

"Discrimination against individuals who are gender non-conforming is both dehumanizing and inconsistent with the bedrock principle of justice for all," said BBA President Lisa C. Goodheart. "Massachusetts now has an opportunity to take an important step forward, and we urge the Senate to approve this bill as a matter of access to justice and equal protection."

The bill passed by the legislature would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in jobs, housing, insurance, mortgage loans and credit. Gender identity would be defined as "a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth." The bill would also make offenses against transgender people subject to treatment as hate crimes.

The Boston Bar Association traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the nation’s second president. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, serve the community at large and promote diversity and inclusion.