AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A new anti-discrimination law in Massachusetts went into effect this weekend.
The law is considered a major milestone for the transgender community. It gives them the right to use public bathrooms or locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity, regardless of their sex at birth. It also prohibits businesses from discriminating against transgender people.
The law is extremely similar to a policy that the Campus Advisory Council at UMass Amherst adopted last year; making UMass one of the few places in Massachusetts already in compliance with the law.
The university’s policy states that students, faculty, and staff, “Should use the bathroom facilities that correspond to their sex or gender identity, or utilize bathrooms that are designated gender-neutral, or gender-inclusive.”
Not everyone is in support of the new statewide law.
A group called the Massachusetts Family Institute is fighting against it. They’ve gathered at least 33,000 signatures to put a question on the 2018 ballot that would repeal the measure. The group has said they worry that men could abuse the law by pretending to be transgender.
Under the law, a person could be arrested for making an improper claim of gender identity. Businesses are, however, required to assume their customers are using the appropriate bathroom, unless there’s a compelling reason to believe otherwise.
Governor Charlie Baker signed the anti-discrimination law this past July. It took effect October 1, making Massachusetts the 18th state to enact an anti-discrimination law, click here.