Transgender issues on LGBT group agenda

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Governor Deval Patrick swore in new and returning members to the Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Youth Wednesday.  While Massachusetts is considered a national leader at improving civil rights, members of the Commission say there’s still work to be done.

According to a 2011 survey, gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth in Massachusetts are seven times more likely to have attempted suicide, twice as likely to skip school because of safety reasons, and twice as likely to be bullied. The Commission aims to improve life for LGBT youth by advocating for access to safer homes, public places and education programs.

“We are fighting now for transgender issues,” said Brian Sides, a new Commission member from Amherst.  “We’re trying to raise awareness and tolerance and enact some law to provide some tolerance for those individuals.”

“Just to help get everybody to understand the dignity and affirming the dignity of all people,” said Chet Franczyk, another new member from West Springfield.

The Commission hopes to promote legislation that increases access to services and promotes nondiscrimination policies for LGBT youth. A controversial bill they hope to have passed is the so-called bathroom bill that allows transgender people access public bathrooms according to their gender identity.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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