Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley recently sent a letter to two state government members urging them to see through anti-trans distortions and recommend a bill to extend nondiscrimination protections to trans citizens.
Writing to Chairman Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty (D-Chelsea) and Chairwoman Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), Coakley urged the Judiciary Committee to give approval to the Transgender Equal Rights Act.
The legislation would extend nondiscrimination protections to cover gender identity and expression and ban discrimination in areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit. Sex, sexual orientation, religion and nationality are among several classifications that already receive protection. However, moves to finally enact this legislation have met with strong resistance from religious conservatives.
Video campaigns supported by the Massachusetts Family Institute (linked to designated hate group the Family Research Council) have labelled the legislation a ”bathroom bill” and alleged that it would mean men in dresses would be able to use female restrooms to assault and rape women and children.
In response, Coakley’s letter stresses these supposed concerns have no basis in fact.
In the letter obtained by Bay Windows, Coakley notes that recently, “opponents began running radio ads that mischaracterize the bill to foster fear and bigotry, specifically by terming it the “bathroom bill” and threatening that its passage will permit men to dress as women for the purpose of entering restrooms to engage in unlawful conduct and claim protection under this law. Given the incorrect and unfortunate misconceptions generated by such statements, I wish to address this issue directly.”
Coakley notes that the bill will do nothing to change existing law, saying “As a prosecutor for more than 25 years, I can emphatically state that this bill only increases our ability to prosecute criminal conduct and protect the civil rights of all, and does nothing to restrict our ability to protect victims of any crimes.” She cites that the Office of Personal Management already requires federal employers to allow their employees to use the restroom or locker room that matches their gender identity and no such troubles have arisen.
Coakley goes on to slam the implication that trans people are all budding sex offenders, saying “Not only is this characterization inaccurate, it is deeply offensive and insulting.”
Coakley cites that testimony against the bill was unable to give “a single instance where an individual has attempted to use this type of gender identity or expression protection as a defense to claims of criminal conduct or violation of privacy in any of the jurisdictions that have passed similar laws.”
Finally, Coakley adds, “Contrary to some of the commentary, it does not extend any new protections to sex offenders,” and then concludes by asking that the Committee give “a favorable recommendation” to “extending equal protections to all citizens and eradicating discrimination in our Commonwealth.”
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