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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 1, 2011

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


SHERIFF CABRAL GIVES TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF TRANSGENDER RIGHTS BILL

Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral submitted written testimony in support of transgender rights during a recent hearing at the State House.


Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral recently submitted written testimony in support of a bill designed to guarantee the human rights of transgender people in the State of Massachusetts.

Written in support of H.502/S.764, An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights, Sheriff Cabral’s letter was submitted for testimony during a hearing held inside the Massachusetts State House’s Gardner Auditorium before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

The letter was presented to the Committee among more than 150 like–minded submissions from other notable authors including U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Representative Barney Frank, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the Boston City Council, and the bill has also received support from many businesses and a host of elected officials, such as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Cambridge City Council, Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins, and Attorney General Martha Coakley, who led the live testimony before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

Originally introduced in 2007 as "An Act Relative to Gender–Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes" by Representative Carl Sciortino and Representative Byron Rushing, the bill has been re–introduced and sent to Committee on several occasions with its most recent filing by Senators Sonia Chang–Diaz and Ben Downing along with Representatives Carl Sciortino and Byron Rushing occurring in 2011 under the new title.

The bill – now known as H.502/S.764, An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights – will, as stated by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, “add Massachusetts to 13 other states, Washington D.C., and 132 counties and cities, including Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Amherst, that protect transgender people. This bill will make the protection of transgender people explicit, uniform, and visible to the general public. It will include gender identity and expression in the state’s non–discrimination statute and will amend existing hate crime laws to explicitly protect people targeted for violence and harassment.”

In her letter of support, Sheriff Cabral definitively addressed the need for the bill’s passage.

“I write to you in full support of H.502/S.764, An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights,” Sheriff Cabral stated. “Passage of this bill will create an atmosphere of tolerance and ensure equal treatment under law for everyone in the Commonwealth.”

“By clarifying the language in Massachusetts’ non–discrimination laws to include gender–expression and identity, H.502/S.764 creates a comprehensive reform of existing statutes to ensure that transgendered individuals receive equal protection under the law,” continued Sheriff Cabral. “While current legislation precludes discrimination based upon sexual orientation, such language is insufficient to address discrimination based upon transgender status, as the relevant issue is sexual identity, rather than orientation. Moreover, this bill will build upon the clarifications set forth by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in making the established MCAD protections explicit, uniform, and visible to the general public.”

For more information about H.502/S.764, An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights, visit the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition at: www.masstpc.org.


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