Question 3 is at the center of an extremely alarming ballot race happening in Massachusetts right now, and even though you’ve probably heard nothing about it, the measure could have a devastating impact on queer people across the entire country.
It’s a complicated situation, so here’s what you need to know: Massachusetts is one of only a few states with robust protections for trans people in public places and businesses, like restaurants, stores, and doctor’s offices. Question 3, a Massachusetts anti-trans measure on the November ballot, asks if voters want to keep those protections in place.
A “yes” vote on Question 3 protects dignity and respect for LGBTQ people. But if the bill fails and the protections are overturned, anti-LGBTQ extremists have vowed to bring similar challenges to other states, and to use the same language to block protections in states that haven’t passed them yet.
It’s absolutely vital that this attack on queer equality is stopped in its tracks now, before it spreads.
Naturally, the same deceitful bathroom panic we’ve seen before is being employed in this race, with liars claiming trans people will launch attacks on peaceful bathroom users. That’s never happened, which is why groups like the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, the YWCA, and the National Organization for Women are all supporting a “yes” vote on Question 3.
The question is only on the ballot because of a group of people opposed to the very existence of trans individuals. Massachusetts has had strong LGBTQ protections since 2016, when the governor and a bipartisan supermajority passed one of the best nondiscrimination laws in the country. Since then, the law has caused zero problems, and has in fact protected vulnerable citizens — particularly youth.
Nevertheless, misinformation has been flying. No, businesses will not be required to retrofit their bathrooms to accommodate trans people. (They pee like everyone else.) And despite claims to the contrary, no, trans protections do not make it easier for harassers to enter locker rooms. The law already prohibits people from wandering into rooms for any “improper purpose.” And of course, a person can’t just “make up” that they’re trans to gain access to any place they want — there are laws preventing that, too.
There’s also been a claim that trans people will make others feel uncomfortable in bathrooms and locker rooms. But that’s absurd. In case you haven’t noticed, trans people have been using facilities for as long as any of us have been alive, and they have actually endured assault and harassment from cis people. Now that they want to be protected from abuse, suddenly anti-LGBTQ extremists have decided that the future of civilization depends on withholding bathroom access from queer people.
And that gets to the heart of why it’s so important to vote “yes” on Question 3, the new Massachusetts anti-trans ballot measure. A recent survey showed that more than half of trans citizens have been harassed in a bathroom. So if anyone’s bathroom access should be questioned, it’s cis people’s.