Support grows for transgender rights in Massachusetts

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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A federal court just ruled that a transgender person can use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. 22News asked people if you are born as one gender, but identify as the other, would using their bathroom make them uncomfortable.

“I don’t see what difference that makes, it’s not like I am going to be starring at their genitals while they are using the bathroom anyway,” Amherst resident Jason Premo told 22News, adding “I don’t have a problem with unisex bathroom either, so I don’t see why I should have a problem with this.”

And Tian Zhou Ye of Dennisport agrees. “Absolutely, I think it is really a choice of their own. I don’t anybody else should tell them where to go to use the bathroom.”

The ruling threatens a key provision of the North Carolina’s controversial new law that limits the protections of the LGBT community. The court said a Virginia school that didn’t allow a girl to use the boys restroom violated Title IX, a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that gets federal money.

Major retailers are also taking a stand on the transgender bathroom issue. Target announced on Tuesday that both their employees and customers will be able to use the bathroom of the gender that they identify with.

Some worry that a law allowing transgender bathroom choice may be taken advantage of by people claiming to be transgender and might lead to more rape and sexual assault. But Heather Riemer of Burlington, Vermont disagrees. “I think if someone wanted to rape someone in a bathroom, they could do that right now, regardless of the law,” she said. “But I don’t think that’s a common thing that happens.”

Here in Massachusetts, support is growing for a bill that would prohibit bias against transgender people in restaurants, shopping malls, and other public areas.

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