The day when the transgender anti-discrimination bill becomes law in Massachusetts is fast approaching. On this Saturday, October 1, gender identity (which, as it is defined in the law, essentially includes gender expression) will become a protected class with regards to public accommodations. Businesses may no longer legally refuse service, provide deliberately inferior service, advertise or publicize that they discriminate based on gender identity, lie in order to facilitate discrimination, or harass or intimidate people based on their gender identity. (Gallitano and Zules) Massachusetts thus becomes the 18th state to offer this level of protection to transgender and gender non-conforming people.
I wrote this blog over the summer. Though not specifically about LGBT allyship, it seems to make sense to post it during Ally Week.
“Why do you shave your legs?”
The first time I was asked this, I was totally unprepared to answer it - in part because the question was totally unexpected in the moment and in part because, in our culture at any rate, it comes with undertones of “... because it’s out of the ordinary and there’s got to be some explanation and that explanation better be socially acceptable.”
In other words, my legs apparently Mean Something. The question is, what?
It’s GLSEN’s “Ally Week,” and they’ve been sharing some wonderful resources. A "Dear Ally” letter was so strong and so concise that I decided to share it with Kaya Kim, our student Head of Community Alliance, Willy Therrien, our Dean of Community Life, Shawn Durrett, our Dean of Faculty, and Tod Pleasant, our GSA advisor. Ms. Durrett said she thought it would be a good resource for her classes, and Willy shared a link to another GLSEN page, “Actions for Allies.”