MassEquality News (May 17, 2017)

MassEquality News

May 17, 2017



Connecticut Becomes 8th State to Ban Conversion TherapyA man wearing sunglasses and a cap holds a sign that reads: Self-Hatred Is Not Therapy
Will Massachusetts Be Next?

Last week, on May 10, 2017, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law that protects LGBTQ youth in that state from the deceptive and harmful practice known as conversion therapy. The law went into effect immediately upon signing, making Connecticut the 8th state (and the 2nd New England state) to ban the practice. The bill moved swiftly through both legislative chambers, passing by a large, bipartisan majority in the House and unanimously in the Senate.

Legislators here in Massachusetts have a chance to pass a similar bill, SB 62/HB 1190 - An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors, during the current legislative session. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Kay Khan and Sen. Mark Montigny, would prohibit any efforts by licensed professionals in Massachusetts who counsel minors from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor. MassEquality is working hard to get this bill passed so LGBTQ youth in Massachusetts will no longer be subject to this dangerous and discredited practice.

The bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, and we anticipate a hearing on the bill will take place in early June. If you would like to submit testimony in favor of this bill at the hearing or volunteer to support this bill, please contact our Executive Director, Deborah Shields. [Photo Credit: Daniel Tobias, Wikimedia Commons, cc-by-sa-2.0]

BREAKING NEWS: Nevada has just become the 9th state to ban conversion therapy!


MassEquality Invites You to a Reading of I Am JazzCover of the book "I Am Jazz" by Jazz Jennings

MassEquality, Human Rights Campaign and Freedom Massachusetts invite children and their families across Massachusetts to a special reading of Jazz Jennings' children's book, I Am Jazz. Rep. Paul Brodeur will read the book aloud to children at the State Library of Massachusetts in the State House. The reading is part of Human Rights Campaign’s second annual National I Am Jazz School and Community Reading event. This event is open to all, and is appropriate for all ages. Light refreshments will be provided.

Date and Time: Thursday, May 18th at 4:00 pm

Location: State Library of Massachusetts, MA State House, Room 341.

For more information and to RSVP, please visit the Facebook Event page. We hope to see you there!


Massachusetts Celebrates 13 Years of Marriage Equality

Rainbow flag with two plain wedding rings, one resting on the otherOn May 17th, 2004, just after midnight, former MassEquality Board member Marcia Hams and her partner, Susan Shepherd, became the first same-sex couple to be legally married in the United States.

At 12:01 am on May 17th, officials in Cambridge, MA opened City Hall for a party celebrating the first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S., complete with wedding cake and music provided by the Cambridge Community Chorus. Some 262 couples obtained marriage licenses in Cambridge that day, starting with Hams and Shepherd. Other Massachusetts cities and towns began issuing marriage license applications to same-sex couples during normal business hours later that day.

Since that time, more than 20,000 same-sex couples have gotten married in the Commonwealth. According to Wikipedia:
"A Boston Globe survey found that half of the couples who applied for licenses on the first day had been partners for a decade or more. Two-thirds were women and 30 percent were raising children.... In the first week, 2,468 same-sex couples applied for licenses, including at least 164 from 27 other states and the District of Columbia."

MassEquality congratulates all the couples who are celebrating their wedding anniversary today.

Please consider making a donation to MassEquality in honor of this historic milestone for LGBTQ rights. Thank you for your support!

[Image Credit: RCB, Flickr, CC-BY-2.0]


Logo for International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia#IDAHOBIT Raises Visibility of Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination and Violence

May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, also known as IDAHOBIT. The date for this global day of action was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder. IDAHOBIT was created to raise awareness and visibility of the violence and discrimination that LGBTQ people face around the world, and to mobilize people to take action in support of LGBTQ rights. IDAHOBIT is now celebrated in over 130 countries. For more information about IDAHOBIT, visit the official web site at


Pulse Nightclub Victims Remembered Through Action#HonorThemWithAction logo

Equality Florida and other LGBTQ organizations across the country, including MassEquality, are joining together for a nationwide commemoration of the Pulse nightclub massacre, which took the lives of 49 people at the popular LGBTQ club's Latin Night during Pride Month. This terrible event, which happened the day after last year's Boston Pride March and Festival, deeply shocked the world-wide LGBTQ community.

In the days following the mass shooting, vigils were held around the world, fundraisers sprang up to help the survivors and the families of those who were killed, and people committed to taking action to fight against hatred and bigotry. Rocked by grief and anger, our community pulled together to support each other and stand up against violence. We took action, both in the immediate aftermath of the event and for months afterwards, to stand with Orlando and against hate and fear.

This year, we invite you to join MassEquality and other national and state-wide LGBTQ organizations in honoring the memories of the 49 people who were killed by committing to take action against hatred and violence targeting LGBTQ people, in the hope that our collective actions will bring about lasting positive change. The #HonorThemWithAction campaign asks individuals and organizations to pledge to take action during the month leading up to June 12th. For more information, and to sign the pledge, visit


Upcoming Events

May 17th - International Day Against Homophobia/Biphobia/Transphobia (Online, everywhere)

May 17th - 13th Anniversary of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts

May 18th - I Am Jazz Reading at the Massachusetts State House (Boston, MA)

May 20th - Youth Pride (Boston, MA)

June 2-11 - Boston Pride Week (Boston, MA)

June 4th - 2017 AIDS Walk & Run (Boston, MA)

June 10th - Boston Pride March & Festival (Boston, MA)


For more events and information, visit our web site at


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