A transgender-rights bill in Massachusetts now has the backing of five major men's pro-sports teams in New England. The New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins and New England Revolution have all offered public support for the effort by Freedom Massachusetts to protect transgender Bay Staters from discrimination.
Currently under consideration by the state legislature is bill SB 735/HB 1577. The bill would "ensure explicit protections for transgender people under state law in places like hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, doctors' offices, and movie theaters," according to Freedom For All Americans. The bill was debated last year, but no action was taken. Trans people in Massachusetts are afforded some discrimination protection; This bill offers broader protections.
The Red Sox supported the effort in November, and the other four teams have since followed suit. The Celtics told the Boston Globe over the weekend that the team is "proud to support efforts that guarantee equal access rights for everyone."
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The Patriots did not respond immediately to a request for a statement.
"It shows that this is not a controversial issue," Carly Burton of Freedom Massachusetts said in a statement. "A wide variety of people, a wide variety of businesses, support nondiscrimination protections."
What's particularly impressive about this is how willing the teams are to get involved in a "political" issue. So many sports entities view politics as pitfalls. While many of the Boston teams have demonstrated a willingness to engage on LGBT issues in recent years, the dedication of these teams to equality is still pretty cool to see.