Protect Trans Rights and Vote Yes on 3 in Massachusetts

Yes on 3. To uphold basic protections for our transgender neighbors, family and friends in Massachusetts

By Susan Frederick-Gray

Ending discrimination when we have the opportunity should be a foundational principle for our lives.

People who refuse to treat their transgender neighbors with respect and dignity have forced a ballot question in Massachusetts that could result in a rollback of anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. We cannot let hate win. We should all vote ‘yes on 3.’

For the past two years, anti-discrimination protections based on gender identity have been on the books in Massachusetts. In the two years since its passage, at least forty-six transgender individuals have been murdered in the U.S. Transgender residents in my home state of Massachusetts continue to face high rates of discrimination, and now the President is attempting to erase their legal existence.

In August, three transgender women were murdered, two within hours of each other. Vontashia Bell, Dejanay Stanton, and Shantee Tucker should still be here.

The lives of trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people are already at risk, and the people who want to repeal basic protections for transgender people want to make their lives even more dangerous.

Massachusetts residents need to do more as a state to help each other, not less. Yet the "No on 3" campaign is seeking to repeal trans protections based on misguided claims about safety.

The ‘No on 3’ effort reflects the politics of fear that have taken over so much of our country. In a funhouse mirror version of reality, it aims to make the people least at risk feel unsafe in order to take equal protections further away from those who are already living with the least amount of safety.

This is wrong. As the president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, headquartered in Massachusetts, I must say clearly that anything but a yes vote on question 3 would be a violation of basic human compassion and human decency.

Allowing discrimination against transgender people means people can lose their job, their homes, and their access to public accommodations. It leads to homelessness and vulnerability. Such policy violence doesn’t end there. It encourages physical violence because it frames some people as disposable and not deserving of the same rights.

Yes on 3 is about saying yes to everybody’s humanity and fighting the idea that anyone is ‘less than.’ It’s about a society invested in social uplift and resisting the demonization of our neighbors.

Scripture tells me we are called to love our neighbors. To love one another is the greatest commandment. To allow conditions that promote or foster discrimination is not a reflection of that teaching.

I firmly believe we need to reach for that which brings us closer and to be steadfast against anything that would divide us further. I’m voting yes on 3 because my faith compels me, because I believe in the dignity of every human being, and because anything else puts us all in jeopardy.