The rights of transgender individuals is the center of controversy after a memo obtained by The New York Times shows an effort by the Trump administration to rollback certain protections.
In 2016, the transgender community had a big victory when a transgender rights bill was signed. The bill allowed those who identify as transgender to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity.
But that could all change after the midterm elections in November.
Jahaira DeAlto describes her life as pretty ordinary.
“I go to school and I work and I live and vote,” she said.
She also identifies as transgender. And her vote may matter more than ever as state laws could change, which would limit trans identifying peoples’ rights, including their right to use public restrooms and locker rooms.
“My fears are many and numbered,” she said.
On November 6, Massachusetts voters will either vote Yes or No on Question 3. A Yes vote will keep trans protections in the state. A No vote will repeal the 2016 law.
“I worry about living in a world where accessing a public bathroom could be considered a criminal act.”
Using a public facility could find her in prison with fines of up to $50,000 for multiple offenses.
“I’m an ally to the trans community and really honored to count trans people as my friends,” Jennifer Wahr said.
Wahr looks at the vote as a message to the nation to reaffirm the state’s stance on trans protections.
“I’m really excited that we get to vote this year to vote to uphold our current law to protect transgender people against nondiscrimination in public places,” Wahr said.
“It is those who choose to stand in the light that oftentimes become a target for those who seek to darken it,” DeAlto said. “I choose to take that mantle on and I welcome anybody who wants to come to the party.”
Those who are against the law said it infringes on their rights. They’re also worried about predatory behavior in the bathroom.
If the bill is rescinded, it could set a precedent for less liberal states to also rollback rights.