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Globe Editorial

Patrick: Protecting transgender workers

February 22, 2011

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Transgender people are a tiny minority, lacking almost any political clout. So it was a sad moment when Governor Patrick’s gubernatorial rivals Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill chose to attack him last year for supporting legislation that would protect transgender workers from discrimination. Patrick showed his inclusive spirit when he affirmed his commitment to helping a beleaguered minority back then, and he proved it again in extending nondiscrimination policies to cover transgender state workers last week. The fact that the governor felt the need to sign the order during a quiet, closed-door ceremony says more about the initiative’s loud, intolerant detractors than it does about the merits of the initiative itself. Protecting the relatively small numbers of people who are born as females but live as males, or vice versa, is a common-sense step for a state that already protects workers based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and other categories. Hopefully the governor’s generous decision will improve the statewide initiative’s chance of success when it comes before the Legislature again.