MassEquality News (April 12, 2017)

MassEquality News

April 12, 2017


MassEquality Announces 2017 Legislative Priorities

MassEquality 2017 Legislative Agenda - Click here to download a PDF of the agendaThe 2017 Massachusetts legislative session is now in full swing, and MassEquality has seven key bills that we're supporting for this session:

• SB 62/HB 1190 - An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors (See the story below for more information about this bill.)

• SB 346/HB 2892 - An Act Relative to LGBT Awareness Training for Aging Services Providers

• SB 234/HB 2053 - An Act Relative to Healthy Youth

• SB 1186/HB 3249 - An Act Relative to HIV Screening and Prevention

• HB 2468 - An Act Relative to the Health Care of Minors

• SB 499/HB 536 - An Act Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State (ACCESS)

• SB 591/HB 2960 - An Act to protect access to confidential healthcare

In the coming months, we'll be hard at work on Beacon Hill to help pass these important bills. We hope you'll join us in supporting our legislative work, which will directly impact members of the LGBTQ community throughout Massachusetts. To learn more about these bills and the issues that MassEquality is focusing on during the 2017 state legislative session, please visit

You Can Help Us Make "Conversion Therapy" History!

A man stands in a crowd and holds a sign that reads, "Self-Hatred Is NOT Therapy"Conversion therapy is a term for any practice that attempts to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Commonly used conversion therapy tactics include shaming in order to instill self-loathing, aversive conditioning by inducing nausea or administering electric shocks, and using hypnosis to impose a change in identity. To date, California, Oregon, New Jersey, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico and Washington, DC have passed laws banning conversion therapy.  44 states, including Massachusetts, have no laws restricting the use of conversion therapy on minors.

Representative Kay Khan and Senator Mark Montigny have filed SB 62/HB 1190, An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors, also known as the Conversion Therapy Ban Bill, for the 2017 legislative session. This bill would prohibit state-licensed secular mental health professionals from engaging in practices aimed at changing a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

We need your help! A hearing on the bill may happen as early as June. If you or someone you know has been through conversion therapy in Massachusetts—especially outside of a religious setting—we would love to hear from you. We need to show legislators that this practice is still a problem in the Commonwealth. We know that this experience can be deeply painful and hard to discuss, but if you are willing to share your story in writing or in person at the hearing, please contact our Executive Director, Deborah Shields, at 617-878-2300 or Please also share this email with your friends so we can reach more people who may have been impacted by conversion therapy practices.

[Photo Credit: Daniel Tobias, Wikimedia Commons, cc-by-sa-2.0]

Beacons of Light Event a Great Success!

The 2017 Icon Award winners stand with legislators and MassEquality officersOn Thursday, March 23rd, guests and honorees gathered at the Courtyard Downtown for MassEquality's biggest event of the year, Beacons of Light: The 2017 Icon Awards Gala. The evening honored the 2017 Icon Award winners, who were chosen for their exceptional leadership, voice, advocacy and commitment to bettering the lives of the LGBTQ community. You can view a selection of photos from the event on our Beacons of Light Flickr gallery.

We were proud to present the 2017 Political Icon Award to Senate President Stan Rosenberg, the Community Icon Award to BAGLY (The Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth) and the Special Recognition Award to the Lesbians of Color Symposium (LOCS) Collective. Each of the award winners has made a lasting impact through their advocacy, support and tireless efforts on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

“We congratulate and thank our Icon Award winners for their pioneering work on behalf of the LGBTQ community,” said MassEquality’s Executive Director, Deborah Shields, JD, MPH in an official statement. “They have been beacons of light during dark times, and fought for us and alongside us throughout many battles for our rights. Our community is stronger because of their efforts.”

We also thank our friends and supporters who attended the event, our generous sponsors, our volunteer team and everyone who helped us make this event truly exceptional.

[Photo © 2017 by Marilyn Humphries.]

Support MassEquality on Give OUT Day!Official Give OUT Day logo

Next week, on Thursday, April 20th, the MassEquality Education Fund will be participating in Give OUT Day, the national day of online giving for the LGBTQ community. On this day, thousands of people across the country make gifts of much-needed funds to support LGBTQ nonprofit organizations and the causes they represent. MassEquality is proud to be a participating organization for Give OUT Day 2017, and we hope you will support our work on that day with a gift made on our official Give OUT Day donation page.

At MassEquality, we are working hard to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with the dignity and respect they deserve. On April 20th, let's try to raise as much awareness and muster as many resources as possible to ensure that LGBTQ people in Massachusetts are protected equally under the law! You can make a donation at any time, and any amount you give will go towards helping MassEquality advocate for the equality and dignity we all deserve. Together we can fight back against hate and prejudice, and create a world in which everyone can live free from discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Thank you for your generous support!