More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Massachusetts now protecting transgender students with non-discrimination laws
In July of 2012 The Transgender Equal Rights Law took effect in Massachusetts, which prohibits discrimination against Transgender persons and includes an amended definition of a hate crime which now includes any crime motivated by one's gender identity.
Less than a year later on February 15th 2013 the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Massachusetts has implemented directives which allow Transgender students access to all school facilities that coincide with the student's gender identity. Students not identifying with their born gender can now use the restroom, changing facilities and play on sports teams that correspond with their desired gender. Along with being allowed to use the desired facilities the directivities include instructions on the proper use of names and pronouns for transgender students, appropriate names and gender markers on student recorders including diplomas, and education and training for teachers about transgender students.
A full list and outline of the guidelines can be found here on the Mass.Edu website. Organizations in Massachusetts such as MTPC (Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition) along with advocates Julian Cyr, Chair of the mass. Commission for GLBT Youth commended the DESE for acknowledging and implementing guidelines which now help to protect Transgender students and make such things as coming out not as difficult.
Transgender students face bullying at a higher rate than other students and can often feel ostracized. These new guidelines will let teachers and students alike know that trans students should be accepted, protected, and free to be exactly who they are in Massachusetts schools.