Transgender Rights: Current State and Federal Laws

mayor walsh raising the transgender flag over Boston

The Activist Fellow engages in specific topics of public health advocacy for at least a semester. Starting in the Spring of 2018, one fellow will focus their work on the Transgender Rights Policy Initiative.

Current State and Federal laws regarding Gender Identity or Expression

Gender Identity Guidance, MCAD, December 2016
Written “to educate the public about discrimination based on gender identity, to describe what evidence may be submitted to support a claim of gender identity discrimination, to inform individuals of their rights, and to assist employers, providers of housing, mortgage services, and owners, managers and agents of places of public accommodation in understanding their obligations under Massachusetts law.”

Gender Identity Guidance for Public Accommodations, Mass. Attorney General, September 2016.
Written to “help businesses and other places of public accommodation comply with the law,” this document “provides definitions and general information, … provides specific information regarding the use of … restrooms and locker rooms,” and provides guidance on what to do if you think someone is “asserting gender identity for an improper purpose.”

Massachusetts Laws

MGL c.46 § 13(e)Amending a Birth Certificate
A person who has completed medical intervention for the purpose of permanent sex reassignment may have their birth record amended. As of July 1, 2015, surgery is no longer a prerequisite to getting a new birth certificate.

MGL c.151B: Discrimination

St.2011, c.199: An Act Relative to Gender Identity. Protections effective July 2012.

St.2016, c.134An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination. Fully effective October 1, 2016.
Gives transgender people the right to use restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identities, and includes language to provide “legal action [against] any person whose assertion of a gender identity is for an improper purpose.”

Massachusetts Regulations

501 CMR 4Hate Crimes

Massachusetts Executive Orders

Executive Order 526Extends the state’s equal rights protections to gender identity and expression. The order covers state workers and employees of private companies that contract with the state.

City and Town Bylaws

Amherst, Human Rights Bylaw“…no person, public or private, shall be denied any rights guaranteed pursuant to local, state, and/or federal law on the basis of race or color, gender, physical or mental ability, religion, socio-economic status, ethnic or national origin, affectional or sexual preference, gender identity or expression, genetic information, lifestyle, or age.”

Boston, Human Rights, Chapter XII, s.12-9‘Includes in its protections, “Gender identity or expression shall mean and include a person’s actual or perceived gender, as well as a person’s gender identity, gender-related self-image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression whether or not that gender identity, gender-related self-image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with a person’s sex at birth.”

Cambridge, Cambridge Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Commission, Title 2, c.2.125 
Also, Human Rights, c.2.76defines gender as, “the actual or perceived appearance, expression or identity of a person with respect to masculinity and femininity.”

Northampton, Human Rights Commission, s.22-104Focuses on discrimination ” on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, ancestry, or disability, marital status, veteran status, receipt of public or housing assistance, or because they have children.”

Federal Laws and Policies

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 USC 12211 (b)(1): “Under this chapter, the term “disability” shall not include…(1) transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders.”

“Dear Colleague Letter,”: US Dept. of Justice and Dept. of Education, February 22, 2017.
Rescinds requirement for public schools to allow students to use bathrooms appropriate for their gender identity.