Massachusetts Legislature Passes Transgender Equal Rights Bill | For the first time ever, transgender individuals will be explicitly protected from discrimination in Massachusetts. The state Senate today passed the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, which had languished in committee for six years. It will now go to Gov. Deval Patrick (D), who has already committed to signing it. This bill adds “gender identity and expression” to the state’s hate crimes law as well as existing civil rights laws that protect from discrimination in employment, housing, education, and credit. Protections for public accommodations were dropped from the bill to allow it to advance. Massachusetts will become the 16th state (plus the District of Columbia) to include protections for transgender people.