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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Massachusetts' Ballot Initiative to Uphold Transgender Protections
2018-11-07

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BOSTON, November 6, 2018 — The ACLU today issued the following statements in response to a winning ballot question to uphold Massachusetts' transgender nondiscrimination law and protect transgender people from discrimination in public places:

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts:

"By winning the first statewide popular vote on transgender rights, Massachusetts voters reaffirmed our Commonwealth as a place that fiercely defends our basic values of dignity and respect for everyone. When Massachusetts leads on equality, the nation watches — and often, it follows. Tonight, we sent a message not just to transgender people and their families and friends here in Massachusetts, but to the entire country. At a time when transgender rights are being threatened nationally, we absolutely must preserve the rights we have secured at the state level."

James Esseks, director of the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project:

"It's now clear that America — from coast to coast — supports protections for transgender and nonbinary people. Over the past two years, anti-transgender activists tried but failed to get a similar measure on the ballot in Washington state and in Montana. Last spring, voters in Anchorage rejected a related anti-transgender ballot measure. And now Massachusetts has sided with the transgender community. The failure of these anti-trans ballot tactics should prove, once and for all, that voters don't want to discriminate.

"Once again, we see that when people meet their transgender neighbors, equality will prevail. This victory belongs to every transgender and nonbinary person in Massachusetts and those around the country who are living their truth. No one should have to fight for their own humanity this way — but we are thankful to those who refused to back down in the face of discrimination. Those who oppose equality should see this as another clear message that discrimination should have no place in America."

As a member of the Yes on 3 Executive Committee, the ACLU committed $400,000 to support and empower transgender and nonbinary people through the Yes on 3 campaign. Collectively, Yes on 3 staff and volunteers knocked on more than 300,000 doors and made more than 2 million phone calls, resulting in more than 100,000 deep, intentional conversations with voters.

—From a press release

For more information about the ACLU of Massachusetts, go to: www.aclum.org .

Massachusetts Voters Affirm Protections for Transgender People, Approving Ballot Question 3

Statements of Janson Wu and Jennifer Levi, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders:

BOSTON, November 7, 2018-Yesterday Massachusetts voters resoundingly voted "yes" on Ballot Question 3, affirming the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people.

"This vote shows the heart and strength of Massachusetts voters and of the Commonwealth's transgender community," said Janson Wu, Executive Director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). "This was an incredibly smart and well-run campaign, fueled by thousands of volunteers and supporters. Transgender people, along with countless family members, neighbors and allies, put everything on the line, sharing personal stories, having real conversations with voters, and working countless hours, month after month. We're incredibly proud today."

Jennifer Levi, GLAD's Transgender Rights Project Director, said "The truth is that having to campaign for our rights and prove our humanity was hard work and took a physical and emotional toll on many members of our community. The success of the campaign rested on people speaking about the reality of their lives and the lives of those who they love, support, and depend upon. Yesterday's momentous vote shows what is possible when we work together and show up for one another."

This vote marks the first time in our nation's history that transgender rights have been upheld on a statewide ballot and was closely watched across the country. "Much work lies ahead of us," said Levi, "but this historic victory gives hope to transgender people and all fair minded people everywhere, and buoys us as we keep moving forward together."

GLAD, a member of the executive committee of the Yes on 3 campaign, has led efforts to pass transgender nondiscrimination protections throughout New England, including the Massachusetts law upheld by this vote, and has litigated ground-breaking transgender rights cases including two current challenges to the Trump administration's ban on transgender members of the military, Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump.

The Freedom for All Massachusetts/Yes On 3 campaign executive committee was comprised of local and national organizations, including ACLU Massachusetts, BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Youth), Fenway Health, Freedom for All Americans, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Greater Boston PFLAG, Human Rights Campaign, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, and MassEquality.

—From a press release

Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.


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