Massachusetts Votes to Uphold Protections for Transgender People in Public Places

Question 3 passes with about two-thirds support.

Transgender advocate and actress Laverne Cox meets with Ashton, a transgender teenager, in Boston.Josh Reynolds/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign

A majority of Massachusetts voters chose to uphold legal protections for transgender people on today, preventing a rollback of a law that bans discrimination against trans people in public accommodations such as restrooms and locker rooms. Two-thirds of voters checked “yes” on Question 3, expressing their support for the current law.   

“From the very early days of our campaign, we have been clear that this is about dignity and respect for all people,” Kasey Suffredini, cochair of the LGBTQ rights coalition Freedom for All Massachusetts, said in a press release. “Together, we have shattered broken stereotypes of what it means to be transgender and debunked the myth—once and for all—that protecting transgender people compromises the safety of others.”

If the No side had prevailed, Question 3 would have repealed a 2016 law that established anti-discrimination protections for transgender Bay Staters. Its backers began working to get the question on the ballot in the summer of 2016, citing baseless fears that the trans-rights law would put women and children at risk of being targeted by sexual predators.

A late push by high-profile celebrities and a variety of advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union may have helped swing voters, whom pollsters and activists worried would be confused by the ballot initiative’s counterintuitive wording. “I truly believe that this is one of the most pivotal moments in the trans legal, political movement of this decade,” Chase Strangio, an ACLU staff attorney and transgender rights activist, told the Intercept.

Actress Laverne Cox also campaigned aggressively for Yes on 3. On October 24, Cox spoke at a rally in downtown Boston, urging voters to “choose love” as they headed to the polls. “Massachusetts has an opportunity to send a message to this administration, has an opportunity to send a message to the rest of the country that this is not who we are as Americans, that this is not who we are as human beings, that we respect the humanity of everyone,” she said. 


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.