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Needham mom commits to protecting transgender rights

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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Correspondent

This fall, Massachusetts’s voters will head to their designated polling location to fulfill their civic duty and submit their completed ballot.

While most will be curious to see the results of the election on November 6, Needham’s Tracy McKay will be particularly anxious to discover the results to Question 3, which could either uphold or repeal the law set by Senate Bill 2407 to prohibit discrimination against individuals in public places – including restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, and public transportation – based on gender identity.

Tracy, a mother of three, became involved in protecting transgender rights when her daughters, 12 and 17 years old at the time, independently approached her to come out as transgender. Although it initially took some time for the family to adjust, Tracy assisted with her daughters’ transitions by getting them appropriate doctors, working closely with their schools, and getting their names legally changed, as well as educating herself on gender identity.

“My sole motivation to support my children’s transitions is that I love them and I want them to be happy,” Tracy said.

“I was sad that their lives would probably be much harder than I ever could’ve imagined, but I knew that there was no way for them to ever be happy if they couldn’t live as the people that they knew themselves to be. It never once occurred to us to stop them from trying to live as the women that they are, and it was inconceivable to us to let them go through it on their own.”

While Tracy’s support for transgender rights sprouted from her love for her daughters and her desire for them to be their authentic selves, she has also extended that support to the transgender community and helped form the Needham Coalition on Transgender Equality, which aims to educate locally on the issue of transgender rights.

“We all believe that it is essential that transgender people are afforded the same protections and are treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else,” said Tracy, who has spoken about her experience as a mom to two transgender daughters and on the politics surrounding transgender rights.

“Obviously for me, this ballot question has very real and concrete consequences,” she continued. “If this law is repealed, my son will continue to be able to enjoy every service, be welcomed at every public establishment and be sure that he can receive medical treatment at any time, while my daughters will always be worried that they might be turned away and refused service. I ask every parent reading this to consider what that would feel like. That is what is at stake for my family and so many others in Massachusetts.”

In the weeks leading up to the election, Tracy is encouraging voters to educate themselves on transgender rights, visit www.freedommassachusetts.com to learn more about upholding the transgender anti-discrimination law, and to vote “yes” on Question 3.

“I feel like it’s important to welcome and protect transgender people into public life not only because they, like any group, can offer a unique perspective to the world, but because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the right way to treat people and that is all that transgender people are asking for, they just want to go out in the world and be themselves, just like anyone else,” said Tracy. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask or expect.”

Photo Courtesy of Pam Steinfeld

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