On Wednesday, the Massachusetts state Legislature passed a bill designed to prohibit discrimination against the state’s transgender population. The protects against employment, education, and housing discrimination and revises the state’s hate crimes law to protect against crimes targeting people based on their gender identity and gender expression. The state House approved the bill late Tuesday and the Senate voted, with little opposition, to pass the legislation on Wednesday.

Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, stated, “The Massachusetts legislature today recognized that transgender residents should be treated equally and protected under the law. The Transgender Equal Rights Bill has languished for years, but today the Legislature sent a clear message of fairness and equality.”

Benjamin B. Downing, a Democratic member of the state Senate, stated that discrimination against transgender people is a human rights issue. “There is a problem: 33,000 residents are being denied their human rights, their opportunity.”

The bill will now go to Governor Deval Patrick (D), who is expected to sign the bill into law, which will make Massachusetts the 16th state to ban discrimination against gender identity.

Associated Press 11/16/11; Huffington Post 11/16/11; Boston Globe 11/16/11

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