Monday, July 10, 2017

We Can Change People’s Minds

Just by being out we can change people’s minds, it is a form of activism just by stepping out the door.
REP. SHEILA HARRINGTON: My journey from opposing to backing transgender rightsSentinel and Enterprise
By Sheila Harrington
July 8, 2017

Six years ago, I stood before my colleagues in the Statehouse and spoke passionately against a bill ensuring full protections for transgender people in public places, including restrooms. I care deeply about personal freedom, safety and privacy, and doing the right thing. I had tremendous angst about the potential consequences of passing this bill and believed that opposing transgender rights was the best vote I could make.

But I got it wrong ...

Since that time, I have had the opportunity to listen again and for many hours, to transgender people and their loved ones who have eloquently and courageously shared their stories and experiences.

As a member of the Legislature, and a member of the Judiciary Committee, it has been my job to attend hearings and to listen, understand, look at the facts, and refuse to give in to fear or vague speculation as to what could happen.
I also listened to opponents. However, they did not testify from personal experience or data. Their opposition was overwhelmingly based upon speculation as to the issues we might encounter if this bill passes. Their opposition was rooted in what could happen, not what has happened. Their opposition stemmed from myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions about who transgender people are and what this law would do. Now, we have seen in the past year that their speculation was wrong. This law has only made Massachusetts a stronger, more welcoming place for all.
Hopefully, the voters next year will also take into account that after a year there has not been one single incident involving a trans person.

By just being ourselves and going out in public we are showing that the opposing to this laws are just using fear mongering.

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