Bearing Witness

During dinner last night at the first year ministers seminar a colleague mentioned that a friend of hers, a transgendered minister in another denomination, was testifying next door at the Massachusetts state house in support of a bill, HB 1722. This bill will, according to the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (you can read the text of the bill in pdf at their website):

Make the protection of transgender people explicit, uniform, and visible to the general public. It will include gender identity and expression in the state’s non-discrimination statute and will amend existing hate crime laws to explicitly protect people targeted for violence and harassment.

When we told the workshop leader that we felt we had to go bear witness in support of those testifying she told us their was already a UU presence there (of course!) and we set off to find both the UU staff and ministers there as well my colleague’s friend.

The first person I met as we entered the hearing room was Denise LeClair who is the Executive Director of the International Foundation for Gender Education. Denise has been gracious enough in the past to speak about these issues for me in an adult education program while I was a ministerial intern as well as be a guest on the Saint Kermit podcast (SK 34) . Denise told me she had been there since noon! It was well past 6 p.m. when I caught up to her and they were just getting to the transgender protection bill.

We heard some powerful testimony, including stories of transgender people being murdered and then blamed for their own deaths.
Here’s how you can still act:

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition Declaration of Religious and Faith Based Support for HB 1722

Call your State Representative (in MA)

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