Governor Deval Patrick signed into law today An Act Relative To Gender Identity, “historic legislation to legally protect transgender individuals from discrimination in housing, education, employment and credit. The new law, signed at the State House today, also provides additional civil rights and protections from hate crimes.”

“No individual should face discrimination because of who they are,” said Governor Patrick. “This legislation gives Massachusetts the necessary tools to stop hate crimes against transgender people and to treat others fairly. I am proud to sign it.”

There are an estimated 33,000 transgender people living in Massachusetts.

2011 was a banner year for advancing state-level anti-discrimination protections for trans people, with Massachusetts being the FOURTH state this year to pass laws protecting people from discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

Hawaii: gender identity and expression were added to the employment anti-discrimination law. Trans people were already covered in housing and public accommodations.

Connecticut: gender identity and expression were added to the employment, public accommodations, housing and credit anti-discrimination laws.

Nevada: gender identity and expression were added to the employment, public accommodations and housing anti-discrimination laws.

Massachusetts: gender identity and expression were added to the employment, housing, education and credit anti-discrimination laws and hate crimes law.

More work remains to be done in Massachusetts because the bill signed into law today by Gov. Patrick does not protect trans people from discrimination in public accommodations. Trans rights advocates plan to revisit public accommodations during the 2013 legislative session.

“This is not the end of our fight, and MTPC [Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition] is committed to getting public accommodations protections for our transgender youth, adults, and families. MTPC plans on introducing a bill for the 2013 legislative session for those public accommodations protections,” said Gunner Scott, Executive Director of MTPC. “For now, let’s be proud of the difference this bill will make in the daily lives of thousands of people across the state who need jobs, a safe place to live and access to education.”

Cross-posted at Blue Mass Group.