Transitioning their tactics to raise public awareness

Last spring, Michelle Figueiredo had hopes for a law to finally protect her civil rights as a transgender woman. But critics infamously said the so-called “bathroom bill” compromised privacy in restrooms and locker rooms.

“If I were to walk into the men’s bathroom at Fenway Park right now looking the way I do now, I’d get my ass kicked,” Figueiredo, clad in a black dress and pearls, said. “Where’s the safety for us?”

The legislators’ failure to enact the anti-discrimination bill prompted transgender advocates to retool their approach before they re-file the bill in January.

A new public awareness campaign called “I Am: Transgender People Speak” launched on Sunday.

Advocates hope to raise $20,000 to put their posters on MBTA subways.

“Going back to the drawing board on the legislation is totally disappointing — but this is not just about legislation,” Gunner Scott of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition said. “In general, trans people are misunderstood in the public. Trans people are misunderstood in the media.”

By June, the campaign website will feature 75 videos of transgender people telling their stories. A video of Figueiredo — who said she’s the first State Street Bank employee to undergo a gender transition — is currently posted on TransPeopleSpeak.org with seven other videos.

“If a worldwide corporation like State Street can support one employee to the extent they supported me, how come our state can’t support all our citizens equally?” Figueiredo asked. 


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