On Nov. 6, the Massachusetts transgender anti-discrimination law is up for repeal.
And for the most part, this is widely unsupported by Massachusetts legislators on both sides of the aisles. Gov. Charlie Baker signed this bill into law in 2016 and it has had major support in the last two years.
The clear message from our representatives is this is not a partisan issue, rather, this bill represents something much more important – the safety of our transgender communities.
And we at The Gatepost agree. We endorse “Yes” Question 3 because we support transgender anti-discrimination laws. On this campus and in our state, you should continue to have the right to use the facility your gender identity aligns with.
Proponents of “No” on Question 3 have failed at every turn to provide actual evidence that any harm has come due to this law.
Your right as a citizen of the commonwealth comes with the right to freely and openly be yourself, and that includes the basic right of going to the bathroom you feel comfortable in.
In the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey (USTS), of the 27,715 respondents, 30 percent “reported being fired, denied a promotion, or experiencing some other form of mistreatment in the workplace due to their gender identity or expression, such as being verbally harassed or physically or sexually assaulted at work.”
These numbers are unacceptable and quite frankly, horrifying. With the repeal of this bill, we further legitimize the violence transgender folks are subjected to.
The right to choose a bathroom is a human right.
The right to use a bathroom is a human necessity.
To avoid spewing further hateful rhetoric regarding why some will be voting no, we will not be running the “No on Question 3” column alongside this one.
However, we would like to take the time to address the points the Keep Massachusetts Safe (KMS) commission, the organization that collected signatures to repeal the law, has made.
Debby Dugan, chairwoman of KMS, claims the law is “ripe for abuse by criminals and convicted sex offenders.” KMS released ads depicting grown men brazenly walking into a bathroom marked “female” to peep on young girls.
This assumption that allowing individuals to choose the bathroom they use correlates to higher rates of sexual abuse is a lie.
There is not a single documented case in Massachusetts of an adult male claiming to be transgender to access a bathroom to assault young women.
According to a study conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, the law in Massachusetts does “not affect the number or frequency of criminal incidents in restrooms, locker rooms or changing rooms.”
Furthermore, this law simply protects the rights of one of the most at-risk populations in our country. It does not risk the safety of cisgender children and women.
In fact, as of print time on Nov. 2, on the KMS website that claims to have data of high rates of bathroom assaults, the corresponding link leads to a webpage with the message, “404 – Page not found. The page you are looking for is not found.”
Much like its argument, there’s nothing there to support the claim that an anti-discrimination law in place leads to rampant assaults in bathrooms.
However, the data regarding transgender assault and murder rates is readily available.
According to The Human Rights Campaign, between January and June of 2018, there were 14 murders of transgender people in the U.S., with motives linked directly to the victims’ genders.
Supporters of repealing this bill claim it is to protect women and children. According to the USTS, 54 percent of transgender youth in K-12 have experienced some form of verbal or physical harassment related to their gender identity.
Why don’t you protect those children?
Vote “Yes” on 3 to really keep Massachusetts and our transgender community safe.