Monday, November 28, 2011

Massachusetts Becomes 16th State to Provide Protection Against Discrimination on Basis of Gender Identity

Massachusetts recently became the 16th state to provide protection against discrimination in employment, housing, education, and credit (but not in public accommodation) on the basis of "gender identity."  As defined by the new state law, gender identity means, “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” For evidentiary purposes, “gender-related identity” may be shown by providing “medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity, or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity.”

In a nutshell, this protects homosexuals (or those that appear to be homosexual), transgenders, etc from discrimination in several areas.  Wisconsin provides protection on the basis of "sexual orientation," but not specifically for "gender identity."  There have been several attempts to pass such legislation at the national level, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ("ENDA") but has yet to pass in Congress.

Bravo, Massachusetts.   

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