Photo: Transgender rights is on the state election ballot Nov. 6.
To the editor:
In 2016, the Massachusetts Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker affirmed the rights of transgender individuals in Massachusetts to be treated like anyone else: to be free of discrimination in public places. As this issue directly affects the safety and well-being of people in my own family, I was reassured that we had chosen the right place to live. Belmont, in particular, has been a supportive community in which my wife and I can raise our children.
However, there are many in the state and from elsewhere who oppose the very existence of transgender people, and who refuse to acknowledge their need for dignity and safety. They formed a campaign to overturn the existing protections. Their reasoning is flawed and vicious and uses unsupported fears to demonize those who do not fit their strict idea of gender. They’ve raised money from like-minded anti-LGBTQ groups around the country to further their hateful agenda. To my fellow Belmont residents: I ask you to please not let those people win. Vote YES on Question 3 to preserve these basic rights for transgender people, including those in my family.
Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in biased attacks on LGBTQ people, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, and people of color. In an environment where the rhetoric and actions in Washington are accelerating discrimination, it is vital that the people of Massachusetts work to protect those who face systemic bias. A yes vote on Question 3 is one step we can take to do this, but it is only one of many. Reach out to your neighbors, your friends, and your family to increase understanding and compassion. Practice noticing and breaking down your own prejudices. Speak up when you witness someone spreading misinformation or biased statements about a whole group of people.
We are all individuals seeking the space to raise our families, to feel safe in our communities, to help our children have better lives than we have. Let’s help create a world where everyone is able to do that without fear.
Town Meeting Member, Precinct 1