Massachusetts Education Groups Back Transgender Non-Discrimination Bills

School associations and the state’s largest teachers unions promote legislation that would expand existing protections

BOSTON—Several Massachusetts education groups on Monday announced their support of bills that would build on existing state law by extending non-discrimination protections to transgender people in public spaces.

In 2011, Massachusetts lawmakers passed legislation to safeguard transgender students in public schools, as well as in housing, employment and lending. LGBT equality advocates, however, seek to expand protections beyond the classroom. They view the success of the 2011 law as precedent for additional non-discrimination measures—like the current bills that would also ban bias against the transgender community in restaurants, shopping malls and other public accommodations—as indication that the new legislation would see similar seamless implementation and support from progressive citizens.

“We’ve done it in the schools, and I think that it can be done outside the schools,” said Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Executive Director Tom Scott.

Groups that announced their backing of the legislation include Scott’s Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, and the state’s two largest teachers unions, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts.

Advocates of the non-discrimination bills acknowledge that getting the measures to pass may pose a challenge because of controversy over anti-trans claims of so-called “bathroom and privacy issues,” but they remain hopeful that lawmakers will lean toward progress and safe spaces for all.

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