MassEquality News - September 6, 2017

MassEquality News

September 6, 2017

 

Light blue box with white text and the MassEquality logo at the bottom. Text reads, "We Stand With Immigrants! #DefendDACA #HereToStayMassEquality Condemns DACA Decision

The Trump administration's decision yesterday to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a heartless attack on 800,000 young immigrants who were brought to the US as children. These young people have been able to work, attend school and participate in community life thanks to DACA, but now their future is in peril. For the over 75,000 DACA participants who are LGBTQ, the end of the program is disastrous, since they would be at risk of not only being deported to countries they haven't set foot in since they were young children, but where their safety could be in jeopardy due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
 

MassEquality stands with immigrants and their families. We strongly condemn the Trump administration's decision to end the DACA program, and call upon Congress to pass the bi-partisan DREAM Act of 2017 as soon as possible to protect the hundreds of thousands of law-abiding, enterprising and contributing DACA program participants.

Please join us in reaching out to your members of Congress and urging them to support the DREAM Act of 2017. You can find your members of Congress at http://www.house.gov and http://www.senate.gov

Resources
The DREAM Act Toolkit ( http://dreamacttoolkit.org/ ) includes links to Tweet key members of Congress and the phone numbers of their offices.

 

We Are Here To Stay ( http://weareheretostay.org/ ) has information on events, actions and resources related to the fight to preserve DACA and keep DREAMers here in the US so they can continue to contribute to our country without fear of deportation.
 

Update on MassEquality's Priority Bills

MassEquality is looking ahead to a busy fall season advocating for these bills and we need your help! Below is an update on the progress of the bills we're championing in the current legislative session. If you would like to get involved with our work, please sign up on our web site.

A nurse kneels next to an older woman sitting in a wheelchairLGBT Elder Cultural Competency Training bill (SB 346/HB 2892)

This bill would require the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to develop a training curriculum for culturally competent services to be delivered to our LGBTQ elders. We’ve all heard the sad stories of LGBTQ elders going back into the closet or facing terrible discrimination when they move into a nursing home or need a home health aide. Rep. Danielle Gregoire and Sen. Barbara L'Italien are the lead sponsors of the bill, which currently sits in the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs. We expect a hearing on this bill will happen soon. See our call for testimony below for more details.

Man in white t-shirt, jeans and red cap holds a sign that reads "Self-Hatred is Not Therapy."Conversion Therapy Ban Bill (SB 62/HB 1190)

This bill, also known as An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors, would prohibit licensed mental health professionals from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor. This harmful and fraudulent practice still happens in Massachusetts, especially to transgender youth. Rep. Kay Khan and Sen. Mark Montigny are the lead sponsors of this bill. If the bill passes this session, Massachusetts would join 10 U.S. states and Washington, DC in banning this practice.

MassEquality helped organize a hearing on the bill in June before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, which then reported favorably on the bill and sent it to the Committee on Health Care Financing. Our thanks go to everyone who testified on the dangers that conversion therapy poses to young people and to the Committee for reporting favorably on the bill.

Other bills MassEquality is working on this session include:

An Act Relative to HIV Screening and Prevention (SB 1186/HB 3249)
This bill would lift barriers to HIV and STI prevention, screening and treatment services.
Lead sponsors: Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Jack Lewis

Latest news: This bill received its first hearing in June before the Joint Committee on Public Health.

An Act Relative to Healthy Youth (SB 234/HB 2053)
This bill would ensure that students receive medically accurate, comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education information in school.
Lead sponsors: Reps. Jim O’Day and Paul Brodeur, and Sen. Sal DiDomenico
Latest news: This bill is currently before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.

An Act Relative to the Health Care of Minors (HB 2468)
This bill would ensure homeless youth are more easily able to prove they are managing their own affairs as currently required to consent to medical and dental care.
Lead sponsor: Rep. Elizabeth Malia
Latest news: This bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.

An Act to protect access to confidential healthcare (SB 591/HB 2960)
This bill would ensure the confidentiality of sensitive healthcare services on insurance statements, which is vital for LGBTQ youth, minors, people with HIV/AIDS and those on another person's health plan.
Lead sponsors: Rep. Kate Hogan and Sen. Karen Spilka
Latest news: This bill is currently before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.

An Act Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State (SB 499/HB 536)
This bill would ensure access to affordable birth control products and keep insurers from interfering in womens' health decisions.
Lead sponsors: Reps. Patricia Haddad and John Scibak and Sen. Harriette Chandler
Latest news: This bill has been referred to the Joint Committee on Financial Services.

[Photo Credits: U.S. Navy Mass Comms Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Lavin, cc-by-2.0; Daniel Tobias, Wikimedia Commons, cc-by-sa-2.0]

 

A standing elderly woman rests her hands on the shoulders of another womanMassEquality Seeks LGBTQ Elders' Stories of Discrimination by Care Providers
The LGBT Elder Cultural Competency Training bill (SB 349/HB 2892) will have a hearing this Fall at the State House in front of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs.

We are looking for stories from LGBTQ elders (age 60+) who have received poor treatment or experienced discrimination based on their LGBTQ identity by any care provider (home health aides, CNAs, nurses, doctors, nursing home staff, assisted living staff, etc.) who are willing to offer testimony in support of the bill. Personal stories make a difference in convincing​

​ lawmakers of the need for this legislation. If you are able to submit written testimony or speak at the hearing (3 minute limit), please contact us by September 20th. If you need help with preparing your testimony, MassEquality is happy to help you present your story to the committee. [Photo Credit: Eberhard Grossgasteiger]
 

 

Person holding a sign that reads "Trans Rights Are Human Rights" standing in a group of women wearing knitted hats.Help Us Defend #TransLawMA!

MassEquality is hard at work preparing to defend the Transgender Anti-Discrimination law (aka #TransLawMA) from repeal through a question on the 2018 ballot. It may seem like November 2018 is far away, but we have already started to reach out to people in cities and towns all across the Commonwealth to let them know about the ballot question. Our opponents have also been busy spreading myths and misinformation about transgender people and using scare tactics to try to sway voters against the law, so we have plenty of outreach work to do before the next election.

As a key partner in the Freedom for All Massachusetts coalition, we are taking a major role in the effort to fight this dangerous attempt to roll back statewide anti-discrimination protections for transgender people. We're speaking in communities throughout the state, phone banking to reach voters, and providing information about the law and why it's important to protect everyone from discrimination everywhere.

You can help us defend #TransLawMA from repeal and ensure that everyone in Massachusetts can enjoy the same rights and protections from discrimination and harassment. Sign up to volunteer with Freedom for All Massachusetts at http://bit.ly/2eCDx9W, and visit their web site at http://www.freedommassachusetts.org/ for more information about the campaign to keep #TransLawMA on the books and ensure equal and fair treatment for our transgender neighbors. [Photo Credit: Ted Eytan, cc-by-sa-2.0]