Hate has Made its Way onto our Ballot: Vote Yes on 3 to Protect Transgender Rights
By Bob Coughlin & Edie Stringfellow
We are at an unprecedented moment in Massachusetts. For the first time in our history, well-funded opponents of equality have managed to challenge a civil right that has already been approved and supported by Mass voters.
We’re calling on our members, Massachusetts voters and the life sciences industry to stand with MassBio as we fight to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community.
In 2016, Gov. Baker and Massachusetts lawmakers passed legislation updating the state’s nondiscrimination laws to include protections for transgender people in public accommodations (including hospitals, restaurants & retail shops). Opponents of equality gathered the minimum number of signatures necessary to place the repeal of these basic nondiscrimination protections on the November 2018 ballot.
Massachusetts voters will head to the polls in 5 weeks to vote on this statewide referendum that would repeal full equal rights for the transgender community. Voting Yes on 3 is to protect our existing transgender nondiscrimination law from repeal.
The Economic Case
Discrimination isn’t just wrong — it’s bad for business too. Inclusive policies allow businesses to attract, recruit and retain top talent, and help encourage business investment. That’s why MassBio is supporting this.
Our recent Industry Snapshot report shows the incredible growth the biopharma industry has experienced over the last decade. We’re now at nearly 70,000 employees, a number that has grown by 28% in the last 10 years. Companies are battling to attract talent and recognize that inclusive policies are no longer an option.
Regardless of how hard we work to ensure our employees can bring their true selves to work every day, repeal of this law could have major ramifications on our ability to attract talent to Massachusetts. Transgender professionals have made incredible contributions to our industry and we cannot allow for this to stop.
Just as important, this could impact our state’s economy. North Carolina is projected to lose $3.76 billion over the next 12 years as a result of their adoption of anti-transgender legislation. Our economy in Massachusetts is twice the size – we cannot afford to discriminate, nor is it in our DNA. We pride Massachusetts as being incredibly progressive, and a leader in protecting civil rights. Reversing this civil right could have a rippling effect across the country as other states look to emulate what we have here.
A Call for Action
We’re calling on every single employee of the life sciences industry to join us and VOTE YES ON 3.
We’re calling on the leadership of our member companies to contribute money to fund the media campaign for Freedom for Massachusetts, which still needs to close a gap by October 10th.
This is critical--and has to happen in order to win the election. A June 2018 Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll found that the transgender rights question could be the closest vote in Massachusetts. In order to win, Freedom for Massachusetts needs a significant presence on the airwaves to compete with the unlimited resources and fear-based messaging of their opponents.
We hope you’ll support this incredibly vital campaign.
- Bob Coughlin, President & CEO, MassBio & Edie Stringfellow, Director of D&I, MassBio