We're thankful for you!

MassEquality News

November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!



Heart with horizontal rainbow stripesAt MassEquality, we're grateful for our friends, partners and community every day. Without you, we couldn't win important victories for LGBTQ people and fight back against the many attempts to roll back our rights. Whether you've volunteered, donated, attended events and lobby days, or just read this newsletter, you're part of our community of friends and supporters, and we appreciate you for standing with us.

2018 has been a challenging year, with the federal administration working to overturn important protections for the LGBTQ community and enshrine discrimination based on religious belief in the laws and policies of our government, and attempts in dozens of states—including Massachusetts—to undermine or repeal legal protections for LGBTQ people.

But with your support, we've fought back.

We worked hard to defeat the dangerous ballot question that would have made it legal to discriminate against our transgender friends and neighbors in public spaces—and we won with your help. With our coalition partners, we passed laws mandating LGBTQ cultural competency training for elder services providers, and improved access to medical care by passing the PATCH Act and the ACCESS Act. We also helped elect over 10 new equality champions to the State House.

Our work is far from over, but because of you, we'll keep fighting strong to protect and expand LGBTQ rights here in Massachusetts. Thank you again for all that you do!

[Image credit: CalebTabor, CC-BY-SA-3.0]


This Week in Massachusetts LGBTQ History

Rainbow flag with two plain rings in the centerThis week and last weekend mark two important dates in LGBTQ history here in Massachusetts. The first milestone to celebrate occurred on Sunday, November 18th: the 15th anniversary of the landmark legal decision that declared same-sex marriage legal in Massachusetts.

On November 18, 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a state ban denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the U.S. constitution. That ruling made Massachusetts a pioneer in the nationwide fight for marriage equality. The first marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004, with the first same-sex weddings being celebrated at Cambridge City Hall that day.

Two hands hold a small, lit candle in the darkness.Our next date with Massachusetts roots is a much less happy one: the 20th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which happens on November 20th each year. This day of mourning for the transgender people whose lives were lost due to anti-trans violence over the past year has become an important observance for the transgender community. The event has its roots in the LGBTQ community's reaction to the murder of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman who was killed in Allston, MA on November 28, 1998. Rita's death inspired Gwendolyn Ann Smith to organize the first Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1999. Today, TDOR is observed in hundreds of cities and nearly two dozen countries around the world.

[Image credits: RCB (Robert Couse-Baker), CC-BY-2.0; Myriams-Fotos, CC0-1.0 ]


Remember MassEquality on #GivingTuesday!

Support MassEquality on #GivingTuesday!It's less than a week away: the global day of giving known as Giving Tuesday. This day was created to harness the collective power of people, organizations and communities to encourage philanthropy and celebrate giving. This year's event is expected to be the biggest yet, with thousands of organizations participating.

Giving Tuesday happens on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year, following the bargain-shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So mark your calendar for Tuesday, November 27th and make a note to visit MassEquality's Giving Tuesday web page. You can give anytime, not just on Giving Tuesday.

Thanks for your support, on Giving Tuesday and every day!


MassEquality Seeks New Board Members

MassEquality Executive Director and Board Presidents with Attorney General Maura HealeyMassEquality is accepting applications to join its Board of Directors for Fall/Winter 2018-19. We're looking for several talented new board members who are passionate about our mission and ready to help us build on our successes and thrive for years to come. We especially encourage people of color and transgender and non-binary people to apply. We're looking for candidates with finance, fundraising, communications, legal or organizational management skills.

If you're interested in applying or have additional questions, please contact Deborah Shields, our Executive Director, at deborah@massequality.org. If you know someone who would be a great MassEquality board member, please feel free to share this posting with your friends and networks.

[Image credit: Leise Jones Photography]


From defending transgender rights to protecting LGBTQ youth and elders from abuse, there's more work to be done!

MassEquality works hard every day to pass laws and support policies that promote LGBTQ equality in Massachusetts, and to elect candidates to public office who will fight for our rights on Beacon Hill and across the Commonwealth.

Your gift in support of our work is now more important than ever...

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