Sciortino, Patrick celebrate Transgender Bill

On January 25, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

From left to right: Attorney General Martha Coakley, Sen. Benjamin Downing, Rep. Carl Sciortino, and Gov. Depaval Patrick joined together to celebrate the passage of the new bill.– Photo by Andrew Firestone

By Andrew Firestone

Thursday, January 19, saw a host of state politicians and activists rally around Rep. Carl Sciortino (D – Somerville), as he acted as master of ceremonies for the celebratory signing of a bill he wrote and sponsored, “An Act Relative to Gender Identity” by Gov. Deval Patrick.

The law was signed around noon in the Senate Reading room, which was the Senate Chamber in years past. Joining the throng of politicians that turned out to the event, including Rep. Denise Provost of Somerville and Sen. Jamie Eldridge of Acton were State Auditor Suzanne Bump, formerly a state legislator, Kara Suffrendi, the Executive Director of Mass Equality, and activist Gunner Scott of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.

Sciortino has been working to get the law passed since 2007, and finally succeeded in November of 2011. Qualifying the process had a “rollercoaster feel,” Sciortino was in high spirits when he called to the podium the Governor, whom he called “a hero and a legend on behalf of LGBT equality.”

Patrick was in full swing, congratulating Sciortino and the other activists for getting the job done.

“This is what comes from turning to each other, rather than on each other,” said the Governor. “This is about what happens when people come together in common cause, for their own sake and for the sake of a principle, a very simple one, which is that people should come before their governments as equals.  I am proud of you, and proud to be with you today.”

Patrick lauded the many members present from both chambers of the house, including Reps. Robert DeLeo and Byron Rushing and Senators Sonia Chiang-Diaz and Benjamin Downing for their “ act of political courage.” The bill classifies discrimination against transgender people as a hate crime under state guidelines, and protects transgender people against discrimination in housing, employment, credit and education.

“I sign this bill as a matter of conscience,” said Patrick. No individual should face discrimination because of who they are. For that reason, this legislation is an achievement, not only for transgender people, but for all of those who stand up for and care about respect for basic human dignity.”

He echoed many of the speakers that day, calling the movement an “example for what it means when people decide to make advocacy personal, when they decide that you do in fact have all the power you need to make all the change you want if you work together,” and a “powerful reminder for all those who work for you in public service.”

Also speaking was the second sponsor of the bill, Rep. Rushing of Boston, who spoke on the significance of the law, and its role in personal politics.

“When you come here, when anyone who has been discriminated, deprived of their rights in our society, when you come and demand those rights, you of course demanding those rights because you don’t have them. You were born with these rights, you have always had these rights,” said Rushing.

“What you come to government to do is to protect these rights, to acknowledge those rights, and that is the great work to do.”

Chiang-Diaz of Roxbury spoke of the inspiration the movement inspired. “We’ve refined our own voices, and we’ve re-remembered how to lead, and not just govern and what’s going to fly well in our district, but by what we believe and what we can convince others is just.”



15 Responses to “Sciortino, Patrick celebrate Transgender Bill”

  1. A Moore says:

    Ridiculous waste of time and energy when we have so many problems that need to be addressed. We need a bill for every type of discrimination? I think with a little common sense we should have one bill that will handle any discrimination and be done with it and stop wasting time and money to make so many of these bills. Simplify it, not complicate it. Then spand some time and do some real work.

  2. Joseph Keller says:

    Thank God, this changes everything…

  3. j. connelly says:

    These discrimination laws are just a game played by the legislators. of whom a lot of them either are lawyers or affiliated with lawyers. Et tu brute…it’s more pocket change for their profession.

    I’m handicapped, tried for three+ years to get employed…by the expressions at the interviews when I went in, within 5 seconds I knew I was not even considered, though I had the qualifications.

    Lawyers want ten grand up front money…ACLU is too busy taken care of the locked up terrorists in Quantanamo.

    I liked the judge out west who handled a case by an atheist who wanted
    something with “In God We Trust” removed from a public building…The judge threw the case out of court. When the Atheist/Lawyer objected, the judge asked “Do you personally believe in God”, the man replied he did not. So the judge said then the issue was moot as the man did not believe, therfore it did not exist for him…”case dismissed”

    Havent heard from Mitt or Newt offering employment ( I figured maybe one of them needed a guy to go to the Caymans to check & make sure their bank vaults are okay)…LOL

  4. Dianna Davids says:

    A Moore: Until this bill was passed, it was totally legal to fire a trans person just for being transgender – even if the person never came to work presenting in their preferred gender. The reality is that until this bill was passed (and in the other states), we have been facing the types of discrimination blacks, gays and ethnic minorities faced 20+ years ago. (I remember when people were fired just on the suspicion that they were gay). This bill goes a long ways to remedying this and helping remove the second class status that we have long endured – hardly a waste of time in my book.

  5. Harry says:

    Is Carl still only working on this? I have never seen his name associated with any other legislation beyond the gay agenda. Doesn’t he represent the rest of us too? Transgeners are what < .01% of the population? And he spends all his time on this? It's already illegal to discriminate – as someone above said – why is this law needed?

    Prediction: some straight guy is not going to get into some apartment he wants to rent or some women's bathroom to peek upskirts, so he'll throw a dress on and then sue the owner claiming he was discriminated against. The only ones who win with legislation/rules like that are the slimey attorneys and lowlife pols.

    And all these hacks are slapping each other on the backs and smiling about what a bang up job they're doing. We need term limits.

  6. teelesquaremayor says:

    been a state rep for how many terms and this is what he has to show for himself? whats happening is your giving certain classes more rights than others. what do they want next? the ability to become invisible or travel in time?

  7. Winter Hill Barney says:

    Do you guys know of any bills that didn’t pass because the lege “ran out of time”? Usually when they don’t pass it’s because they don’t have enough votes.

    This one did have enough votes. That’s because of the work done by constituents who wanted this law in place, educated and lobbied in their communities for it, and persuaded their neighbors and their legislators to support it.

  8. Me says:

    This is not true.
    “Until this bill was passed, it was totally legal to fire a trans person just for being transgender – even if the person never came to work presenting in their preferred gender. “

  9. A Moore says:

    Dianna Davids says and Me says:

    I don’t care one way or the other my point is to make one generic law that covers all. Do we really need a law for each single discimination? Make on law that covers it all. I don’t care it if’s for being fat, trangender or whatever. But do it so we don’t waste time making a gazillion laws to cover every single tiny thing in the universe. Discrimination is discimination, I don’t see the problem here. Just some good old common sense.

  10. Elio LoRusso says:

    Instead of cutting spending and putting people back to work, these fools are waisting time and money on ridiculous legislatiion… TIME FOR CHANGE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO THE STATE HOUSE….

  11. Harry says:

    Barney, we didn’t get to vote on this. Carl did. There’s a difference. Most people didn’t know Carl was off doing this. If we did then I highly doubt this would be approved.

  12. Kristin says:

    Harry: You make me laugh. Show ONE example of ANYONE EVER using gender as an excuse to peek in bathrooms.

  13. j. connelly says:

    ‘A Moore’ has an excellent point re: generic law. This state, with all of it’s people pushing “green” i.e; “Save the Trees” etc. Kills millions of trees used to make the paper that the hundreds of thousands of frivolous/off the wall bills are printed on by the state to go through the legislature each session.

    You want to make a duck feather the official quill pen, etc., find a corporate sponsor to put it on their logo.

    If we knocked off the garbage type bills….we could eliminate the feeding off of the public trough career political jobs as then the legislature would become a part time position like in NH.

    Have you ever asked yourself the question; “If a lot of our legislators come from realty & lawyer professions…why do they pass legislation with loopholes & have a legal (hacks) staff for the legislature?”

  14. beaner says:

    I don’t particularly care about this issue. Or if it ‘wastes’ government time….as if the legislature was going to fix all corruption if only it had a few extra hours this year. Ha.

    Instead of complaining about every story of government waste or greed or (perceived) abuse of authority: why don’t you work for an organization dedicated to your cause, or run for office or at least Alderman? Otherwise you’ve done nothing to fix these great injustices. Your comment might as well be “I do not like this.” Nuff said.

    If you can’t donate your precious time, then how dumb are you to expect other people will dedicate their lives to make your dreams come true? Talk about naive…

    Political power – the kind you moan for – only exists where there is will. Life takes effort.

    ps – don’t worry, be happy. And other useless platitudes.

  15. j. connelly says:

    ‘beaner’ I gave 30 years of voluntary service to the community. It made some changes then….what have you done? Evidently nothing as you “do not care”, so why write a response?

    When an official hides millions from the taxpayers & a forensic accountant finds it…It is not “perceived”.

    Perhaps if the U.S. Justice Dept investigated more state & local governments the corruption would cease.

    Maybe some day enough people will get out and vote come election time to really make a difference.

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