Panel Discusses Trans Issues As Referendum Looms

Panel Discusses Trans Issues As Referendum Looms

By Neal Sweeney This past Monday, prominent transgender activists gathered in District Hall in Boston’s Seaport for a panel to rally support ahead of November’s referendum. The ballot includes a provision to end non-discrimination protections for transgender citizens introduced in 2016. Kasey Sufferendi, a transgender male and President of Strategy with Freedom For All Americans

By Neal Sweeney

This past Monday, prominent transgender activists gathered in District Hall in Boston’s Seaport for a panel to rally support ahead of November’s referendum. The ballot includes a provision to end non-discrimination protections for transgender citizens introduced in 2016.

Kasey Sufferendi, a transgender male and President of Strategy with Freedom For All Americans in Washington D.C., said that the campaign keeps growing despite how few people seem aware of it:

“There’s not a lot of talk happening about this right now,” Sufferendi said, “but there’s a huge campaign that’s been in place for over a year. There are staff on the ground in three of the four major regions in the state, there are over a thousand endorsers of the campaign from every civic center, there are over 700 volunteers.”

Nicole Talbot (Left), Talking to Panel Moderator Allison King on NBC Boston (Right)

Nicole Talbot, a 16-year-old trans advocate and Massachusetts native, acts as a Champion Youth Leader for the Gender Cool project and an aspiring Broadway actress. From her perspective, panels like this one help establish a common ground with citizens.

“It humanizes the transgender community,” said Talbot, “it shows us to be the people we are and that’s why we do things like this: we talk to our communities.” She elaborates: “It humanizes transgender people to show the people that don’t know who transgender people are, that we are people and we deserve rights and we deserve to live happily as who we are. “

A transgender woman, Lizbeth DeSelm, who acts as a member of the Melrose School Committee, claimed that even the unlikeliest of people can learn to accept transgender citizens.

“I was just talking to my career-navy step-father the other day about public accommodations,” she told the others, “and he made it very clear that If you have really bad hygiene or maybe you were bringing a dog in maybe there might be some reason to discriminate against you and say right of refusal. But if you are trans you absolutely should have the right to go up to the counter, order yourself a soda, and carry on with your life because you are no different from anyone else. And if he can get it, everybody should be able to.”

Boston Pride, with its theme of Rainbow Resistance, hopes to get citizens at polls in November by voting “Yes” to keep the protections in place. The panelists voiced uncertainty about how the vote will go, but everybody seemed hopeful.