By Rev. Julie Flowers, Beverly City Councilor-At-Large and Hannah mom
The World Series is over (go Sox!), which means Fall is in full swing. On top of it all, it’s election season again.
In addition to voting for candidates for office, Massachusetts voters are also asked to consider three ballot questions. Question 3 is not a typical ballot question: Rather than being a referendum vote on a policy decision, it is a vote on civil rights.
Question 3 asks you to consider if you would vote to uphold a 2016 law – passed by a bipartisan supermajority in the State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker – that protects trans and gender-fluid and gender non-binary folks within our state from discrimination in public spaces. This is a law that protects the civil rights and dignity of trans and gender-fluid people to be in hospitals, movie theaters, stores, doctors’ offices, or on public transportation, for example.
A YES vote would uphold the law and continue to protect the rights, personhood, and dignity of trans and gender-fluid and gender non-binary people in our Commonwealth.
A NO vote would overturn the law and leave these people vulnerable in public spaces, making it legal for them to be told to leave simply because they are trans or gender-fluid.
Should Question 3 be voted down it will make Massachusetts the first state in America to take away civil rights and protections once granted.
Here in Beverly, we have trans and gender fluid and gender non-binary people of all ages. They are our children, friends, neighbors, coworkers, people with whom with stand in line for coffee, fellow shoppers at the grocery store. They are people who want to live their lives, safe and free, just as we all do.
The Beverly City Council (with a 6-3 vote) and Beverly School Committee (with a 7-0 vote) both recently supported resolutions in support of the broad and bipartisan Yes on 3 Coalition, which urges us to maintain this 2016 civil rights law. In addition, Mayor Cahill signed the Mayors’ Pledge for Yes on 3, indicating that he stands with other mayors across the State in support of our transgender and gender-fluid and non-binary residents of all ages.
When we stand together, we are stronger and better for it. Our transgender and gender-fluid friends and neighbors want – and deserve – to have their dignity, their personhood, and their safety protected by law when they are out in the world – just as we all do.
A YES vote on Question 3 will allow them to do just that.
Election Day is November 6. Find your voting location here.