As some of you may know, Massachusetts House Bill 1722, "An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes," will have a hearing on Tuesday, March 4th at 1 p.m. at the Mass State House. This bill would make the protection of transgender and gender-non-conforming people explicit, uniform, and visible to the general public, by adding "gender identity and expression" in the state's non-discrimination statute and existing hate crime laws. We need your voice.
How to help:
If you're located near Boston, come to the Harvard Women's Center tonight from 8-10 p.m. to help write testimony in support of the bill. If you will be available to testify at the hearing on Tuesday, please email email@example.com. If you live or vote in Massachusetts, call your legislator today! You can also donate to MTPC.
If, like me, you are somewhere else, you can still help!
Use these "How To" tips and this handy "Testimony Worksheet" to put together a brief letter or statement in support of the bill. It doesn't have to be long, or fancy. It can just be as simple as stating that you are a constituent and that you support this bill.
Once you've typed up your letter, you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org (no stamps!) or send by mail to the addresses in the Worksheet.
I thought I would share a sample testimony to get you started. Feel free to post excerpts from yours - I'd love to read them!
Hello. My name is [ ], and I am from [ ], Massachusetts. I am asking you to support HB 1722.
I have a best friend. I have known her since my first year of college. She is the person who most influenced my experience at college and beyond. Her dedication to public service and helping others has inspired and motivated me – and many of my peers. She is someone who spends her spring break chopping vegetables and running up and down apartment stairs to deliver meals to people living with cancer and other serious illnesses. She is a person that professors and staff turn to for leadership. She wakes up at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings to staff a homeless shelter. She can coax even the quietest person to participate in a class discussion and debate the most intimidating speaker with ease. She has taught me about kindness, about determination and about challenging stereotypes.
My best friend is also transgender. I want her to be able to live here in Massachusetts in safety, to have concrete legal protections against discrimination and violence. She is constantly helping other people, whether it is volunteering at a homeless shelter or helping at her church. I think that it is time we did something to help protect her, to protect basic rights, as a resident of Massachusetts, a fellow citizen and as a fellow human being.
Please support HB 1722 to protect my friend, who is a guiding light in my life, and the lives of so many others. Thank you.
[Name, Address, Contact Info]
This is the time to stand together, and make sure this bill gets to a vote. Let's make it happen, wherever you are.