Associate Conference Minister Kelly Gallagher was one of the individuals and churches who signed on as endorsers of HB1577 and SB735, An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination. The content of her letter, sent to legislators, is below.
Dear Chairmen Brownsberger and Fernandes and members of the Judiciary Committee:
My name is Rev. Kelly Gallagher and I am an Associate Conference Minister for the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. I am writing today in support of HB 1577 and SB 735, An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination.
The Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ has understood for more than 30 years that humanity continues to constantly catch up to creation, and that we should never close the doors on our understanding on how people can express love and presence in the world. More and more society has embraced the truth that we cannot put people in boxes of gender, sexuality, class, race or any other humanly constructed division. The move toward embracing the spectrum of gender is just one more step to opening up the possibilities of our citizenry. People who we now label as “transgender” have been a part of humanity since the beginning of time. Indeed, ancient records reveal a veneration of people who could understand the spectrum in a way that most of us cannot. Our prejudice and discrimination today reveals fear of other – a stepping backward rather than forward. Let Massachusetts stand up to the fear that oppresses members of our Commonwealth and let us embrace the gifts of every person in this state.
As a Christian minister I feel particularly compelled to speak for this legislation. Much prejudice and bias has been claimed in the name of the faith that I hold dear. Indeed, it is this faith that drives me to speak loudly in favor of this legislation. It is my deep conviction that the one I choose to follow, Jesus, would indeed do the same. As evidenced by his life of standing up for those whom society deemed unworthy and outcast, I cannot imagine he would do other than stand today for this legislation.
Transgender Bay Staters should not be vulnerable to discrimination in restaurants, stores, hospitals, and countless other public spaces throughout the state. We pride ourselves on being leaders when it comes to equality and the rights of others. Amending our civil rights law to include explicit legal protections for transgender people in public spaces aligns perfectly with our values of equality, acceptance, and justice. It ensures that every Massachusetts resident and visitor is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
We have every reason to ensure that transgender Bay Staters are protected against discrimination to the fullest extent of the law. Massachusetts can and should do better. As a minister of the Gospel, believing that no matter who you are or where you are on your journey, you are welcomed and loved by the God of many names, I urge you to support HB 1577 and SB 735.
Blessings on your work,
The Rev. Kelly A Gallagher
Associate Conference Minister
Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
Endorsed by the ONA Ministry Team