A flag symbolizing the equality of those who identify as transgender flew freely outside Boston City Hall Plaza on Monday in support of anti-discrimination bills on Beacon Hill.
Activists, joined by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and City Council members, braved the rain to raise the blue and pink striped flag around 1:15 p.m. It was the third time ever that a municipality officially flew the transgender flag, according to organizers.
The flag raising followed two versions of the transgender rights legislation getting favorable reports from the Judiciary Committee, setting the stage for their passage.
The closely-monitored bills, which sat in the committee for more than a year before members voted Friday to advance them, would ban discrimination against transgender people in public spaces, and would allow transgender individuals to use public restrooms or locker rooms that match their gender identity — the bills’ most controversial aspect.
The Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to give favorable reports to a Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz bill and a redrafted House bill that includes a few additional provisions.
The House redraft would take effect Jan. 1, 2017 and requires the attorney general to issue guidance and regulations for instances where people assert “gender identity for an improper purpose.”
The bill is divisive, as some fear people will use it to gain access to restrooms for nefarious reasons. Supporters say it will end real access problems faced by transgender people.
The Senate plans to debate the bill May 12.
Additional reporting by State House News Service.
— ACLU Massachusetts (@ACLU_Mass) May 2, 2016
— John A Keith (@JohnAKeith) May 2, 2016