Massachusetts: A Helpful Case Study
However, recent developments in Massachusetts may prove helpful to IHRSA members who operate facilities in other parts of the country.
The push to pass transgender-related legislation in that state began in 2008. When such a bill passed in 2011, IHRSA was able to remove locker rooms and bathrooms from its provisions. But that wasn’t the end of it. Transgender advocates viewed this as a major loss and worked for the next four years, until late 2015, when it seemed that the passage of a bill that would include those facilities was imminent.
Once that became apparent, IHRSA began to work with the state legislature to require the attorney general’s office to issue guidelines on how to administer the new law.
As a result, in July of 2016, a new section was added to the Massachusetts public accommodations bill requiring Attorney General Maura Healey and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination to provide guidance on how businesses should apply the law, and about how gender identity may be ascertained.
Governor Charlie Baker signed that bill in the summer of 2016. Then, on September 1, Healey’s office issued guidance for the law, which went into effect on October 1, 2016.