BOSTON — The Trump administration has been wasting no time when it comes to rolling back protections for the gay community, and Bay State advocates say that is especially true for transgender people.
The good news is that there are significant protections in place for gay people in Massachusetts, but there are concerns about efforts to roll back protections for transgender people. Mason Dunn is a transgender man and executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.
“So, here in Massachusetts we have full nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, credit lending, education and public accommodations,” Dunn said. “I think the rollback at the federal level really points to how important state-based protections are in this moment.”
Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would override concerns for the civil rights of LGBTQ people. Dunn said gains made by the trans community are currently under assault in the the Bay State.
The Massachusetts Family Institute is among the groups that say they will try again next session to repeal a 2016 law that ensures explicit protections for transgender people from discrimination in places of public accommodation.
Dunn said this takes religious freedom beyond reason.
“As a trans person who is also religious, I think it is important for us to say that freedom of religion is essential, it is important,” he said; “but, freedom of religion doesn’t mean that we give people the right to impose their beliefs on others, or to harm others, or to discriminate. “
In 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker supported bipartisan legislation making Massachusetts the 18th state with explicit protections for transgender people from discrimination under the law.