Boston Adds Gender Identity to Housing Discrimination Laws
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For Immediate Release
May 06, 2013
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced legislation filed with the Boston City Council to update the powers of the Boston Fair Housing Commission (BFHC). A Home Rule Petition (HRP) will add Gender Identity as a protected class, consistent with the 2012 changes made to Massachusetts’ housing discrimination laws, giving the BFHC direct enforcement authority over housing discrimination based on actual or perceived gender identity in the City of Boston. The Home Rule Petition will also strengthen the language that prohibits owner occupants from publicly engaging in housing discrimination through advertisements, or statements.

“There is no place for discrimination in the City of Boston,” Mayor Menino said. “We are blessed to live in a community with such diversity, and as Mayor I will continue to work to ensure that we are a city where there is equal access to housing opportunities for all.”

The HRP will update the commission’s 1994 statute which granted substantial housing discrimination enforcement powers. At present Boston is one of only two municipalities with housing discrimination enforcement powers similar to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and acceptable to United States Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP).

Jennifer Levi, Director of the Transgender Rights Project of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), commented: “We commend the City of Boston for taking steps to ensure that transgender people have proper recourse if they experience housing discrimination. Unfortunately, GLAD too often hears from transgender people who have difficulty finding or maintaining safe, appropriate housing simply because of who they are. This home rule petition will make a tangible positive difference in the lives of the many transgender people living in communities across the City.”

Each April “Fair Housing Month” is celebrated due to the passage of the Fair Housing Act in April 1968, just days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the rioting that followed. 

“We believe that every month is Fair Housing Month – that is our charge and our mission” said Dion Irish Executive Director of the Office of Civil Rights.

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