The 2018 midterm elections on November 6th saw many history-making moments, from the election of the first Native American congresswomen to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becoming the country’s youngest congresswoman. And amid all these historic victories, Massachusetts became the first state to protect transgender rights in a popular vote. According to The Boston Globe, 68.1% of voters said yes to Question 3, upholding a state law passed in 2016 that prevents discrimination against trans people in public places. It was the country’s first statewide vote on trans rights.
Under the law mentioned in Question 3, people can use facilities like public restrooms that align with their gender regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth. It also requires the state Attorney General and state Commission Against Discrimination to take steps to prevent discrimination against trans people.
A group called Keep MA Safe was responsible for adding Question 3 to the ballot in an attempt to repeal the law. These opponents of the law based their argument on the myth that nondiscrimination policies will allow “predators” to more easily assault people in public restrooms. Vox points out that there is no evidence to support this myth.
In fact, the National Center for Transgender Equality notes that 18 states currently protect trans people’s rights to use public restrooms, none of which have experienced a spike in attacks in bathrooms.
So many LGBTQ activists are celebrating the passing of Question 3.
The Massachusetts Question 3 results are a promising sign for trans rights amid reports that the Trump administration is attempting to redefine “gender” as either male or female, based strictly on biology at birth. It’s encouraging to see Massachusetts taking a stand, and hopefully, other states will follow suit.