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Election Showed Strong Support for LGBTQ Rights

About 70 percent of Massachusetts voters supported preserving the state's transgender nondiscrimination law. (katlove/pixabay)
About 70 percent of Massachusetts voters supported preserving the state's transgender nondiscrimination law. (katlove/pixabay)
November 8, 2018

BOSTON – Voter approval of Question 3 on the Massachusetts ballot was a victory for transgender rights in the Bay State.

Approval of the measure upholding the state's transgender nondiscrimination law was one of several victories for LGBTQ rights and candidates nationwide.

But the civil rights of transgender people in particular have been under attack in several states and on the federal level.

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, says the effort to repeal the two-year-old law was part of a targeted, strategic effort to undo progress in protecting the transgender community.

"There's been a long effort in Massachusetts to ensure protections for this vulnerable group of individuals, and the law has been an incredibly important source of protections for people,” she states. “So, preserving it means a lot."

The ballot initiative was the nation's first statewide referendum on transgender civil rights.

An initial tally showed 70 percent voted to keep the nondiscrimination law in place.

Although the vote on ballot Question 3 only affects Massachusetts state law, Levi emphasizes that the entire country was watching what happened on Election Day.

"While there certainly is much work that remains, and this administration certainly has been hostile to the transgender community, it's important to have seen what is possible in Massachusetts when people pull together to work on this issue," she stresses.

Levi points out that despite an election year that fanned the flames of intolerance across the country, women, people of color, lesbian, gay and transgender candidates were elected or re-elected to congress, to governorships and state assemblies.

"One of the things that I think is so important is to have diversity in leadership, diversity in political participation, because ultimately that will determine the future direction of civil-rights protections," she states.

LGBTQ election victories also included the election of Jared Polis in Colorado, the first openly gay man elected governor of a state, and two transgender women elected to New Hampshire's state House of Representatives.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - MA