Sunday, June 24, 2007

GLBT Future in Massachusetts

I've already talked about where I think Massachusetts needs to go next on GLBT rights, but Chris Mason got me thinking. Like me, he thinks a transgendered civil rights bill needs to be the next priority. However, I can't help but think if we keep pushing one initiative at a time, eventually the legislature or the people will get tired of it and we'll lose our initiative.

So, I came to a conclusion: what the movement needs is one last big push for GLBT rights in Massachusetts. Over the course of this summer, we should examine just what's needed and then package a series of bills we could advertise as the last steps to full equality. It would be relatively easy to get the public on board and get the necessary publicity.

If we do things one at a time, maybe we'll get 1913 repealed. Maybe we'll get a transgendered basic civil rights bill. But what about a transgendered hate crimes bill? What about a dozen things I can't think of off the top of my head? What will happen is that eventually the last few important steps will be forgotten and left behind and the people in the GLBTQ community who need help the most won't get it.

I don't think we can stand for that. So, let's come up with a package of bills instead and push them as a whole. We should push them as hard as we pushed for marriage equality itself. Ultimately, we're talking about issues so important that we can't afford to leave anyone behind.


Chris Mason said...

Hey Ryan -

This DOES sound like a good idea. I like how you package it as "the last steps to full equality". We should find out exactly what we need for LGBT youth,the LGBT aging project, and LGBT domestic violence prevention as well.
Also, the current Transgender Civil Rights Bill is a two in one - it contains basic protects for non-discrimination in housing, work, and school - AND it also changes the current hate crime law to include trans people. It is truly a great bill and needs to be passed.

Ari Fertig said...

Except there's no such thing as "last steps to full equality." Equality isn't something you can put together just through legislation, it's an eternal struggle to ensure that we're all treated fairly and given the same opportunities. And new issues will always come up.

I really do like the idea of bundling a series of GLBT legislation together, actually, I'd just brand it differently. Though I worry that it would have a hard time -- repealing the 1913 law seems like lower hanging fruit than the Transgender Civil Rights bill, so it might be harder to get as many people on board. That might just be my outsider's take.

Ryan Adams said...

On the other hand, it may link together various causes in an effort to get the whole shebang.

While I realize equality is always transitioning and has new meaning every day, pushing the transgendered rights bill, 1913 and a few other needed things would go a long way toward finishing the Government's job in glbt issues. Of course, there's a third barrier to break through when it comes to glbt rights, but that will have to come through years of education, hard work... and not really through government legislation. Yet, it's an important step to legislate something close to full equality on the law books.

Anonymous said...


A later step -- and this will raise some right wing hair -- is to get gay and transgender studies into high school curriculum. Knowing about GLBT folk is, after all, important preparation for citizenship.


Anonymous said...

You should also include a bill to legalize marriage for three or more persons in your package. Why limit this institution to only two people? Its discriminatory to polyamourous people.

Anonymous said...


Over 20 yrs ago, I remember observing that any discussion of the issue of race by any collection of white people always included mention of blue or green people. Not only was their appearance in the conversation reliable but they were usually used as an example of the great tolerance to be expected from the speaker.

On marriage equality and similar GLBT issues, Senator Santorum was similarly concerned about "man on dog sex". So too our anonymous friend here. No doubt, those who are uncomfortable with teh gay will eventually settle on some equivalent of green people. We can expect to hear much more about Mormons and experimental sexual communities in the days ahead.


Tom said...


I like your idea, however, first step is and always should be to have a sit down with the Caucus (Arline Isaacson, Gary Daffin and Norma Shapiro--who is ACLU).

These are our longstanding "real" lobbyists and I have always found their insight to be the best and most true to the LGBT community.

And once again, I say that we need to move quickly to organize and recreate the "Alliance" which would be made up of groups outside but not exclusive of MassEquality. That way ALL voices are heard AND we can rally around LGBT inclusion without being silenced by "certain groups" (one in particular).

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