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Massachusetts Legislature passes An Act Relative to Gender Identity

On November 15, 2011, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed An Act Relative to Gender Identity, by a vote of 115 to 37.  The next day, the bill was passed in a voice vote by the Massachusetts Senate.  If Governor Patrick signs it, which he is expected to do, the Transgender Act will go into effect on July 1, 2012.

In general, the Transgender Act will prohibit discrimination based on “gender identity” in employment, housing, mortgage loans, and credit.  To that end, the Commonwealth’s anti-discrimination laws will be amended to include “gender identity” as a protected category, with “gender identity” 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 Act will also extend protection to transgender individuals under existing hate crime laws.

It appears certain that Massachusetts will soon join 15 other states and the District of Colombia in prohibiting discrimination against transgendered individuals

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Author

Martha Zackin