Massachusetts votes to preserve public protections for transgender persons

DCNFGrace Carr, DCNF

Massachusetts residents voted Tuesday to uphold a statewide law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in public places like hospitals, stores, and theaters.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Residents voted on “Question 3” to uphold Senate Bill 2407, a provision barring discrimination according to gender identity in public places, according to BallotPedia. Voters elected to uphold the bill 67.6 percent to 32.4 percent, according to The New York Times at the time of reporting.

The ballot question was a referendum on the state’s October 2016 law permitting transgender persons to use public restrooms and facilities according to their gender identity.

Forty-eight percent of residents were opposed to repealing the protections and 37 percent supported repealing the 2016 law ahead of the midterms, according to a June 2018 poll.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Charlie Baker beat out Democratic opponent Jay Gonzalez 66.9 percent to 33.1 percent, TheNYT reported.

The University of Massachusetts vowed on Oct. 29 to preserve protections for transgender individuals even if the state had voted to repeal protections for transgender persons in public places.

The university’s announcement comes after an Oct. 21 memo reportedly indicated the Trump administration plans to define gender by biological sex, according to The New York Times. The policy would define gender as either female or male, depending on the person’s genitalia at birth. It could potentially implement genetic testing for discrepancies as well.

Companies have adopted plans covering the cost of therapies and surgeries for transgender and transitioning employees. Some states have mandated that insurance companies pay for sex-change operations and other cosmetic procedures.

Trump instituted a ban on transgender persons from serving in the military in August 2017, but a U.S. district judge blocked the move in October. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also froze the implementation of Trump’s ban shortly after Trump called for the measure to take effect.

TheNYT reported that a new definition could be ready for presentation to the Department of Justice by the end of the year, citing Trump administration officials.

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