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Mass. Gov. Patrick signs transgender rights bill

November 23, 2011
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BOSTON—Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill designed to protect transgender people from discrimination in Massachusetts.

Advocates said the new law protects transgender people from discrimination in the workplace and housing by adding "gender identity and expression" to the state's civil rights laws.

The measure won support from state lawmakers after advocates agreed to drop public accommodations language that critics said would lead to a breakdown in privacy in rest rooms, locker rooms and other single-gender facilities.

Critics claimed a partial victory, but some Massachusetts House Republicans still opposed the measure saying it could lead to a flurry of lawsuits and tie the hands of businesses if an employee suddenly began identifying as a member of the opposite sex, making customers uncomfortable.

More than a dozen states have similar laws.

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