In the mid 90’s, I was an advocate for anti-discrimination legislation protecting LGBTQ students in Massachusetts public schools.
Up until 1993, Massachusetts law protected students against discrimination in terms of admission to public schools or access to school courses and activities on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, and national origin. House Bill 3353 – “The Gay and Lesbian Student Rights Bill”, proposed adding sexual orientation to the protected classes.
House Bill 3353 was filed by the Student Advisory Council, a statewide network of students working on a number of educational initiatives. The bill had forty-one co-sponsors, with Rep. Byron Rushing (D-Boston) and Sen. Robert Havern (D-Arlington) as the chief sponsors.
In the fall of 1993, I began volunteering with the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights as the Youth Outreach Coordinator working with David LaFontaine as who was the political Director and lead volunteer, Bernie Gardella. In previous years, The Coalition worked on successful efforts to pass the Gay Civil Rights Bill, the Hate Crimes Reporting Act, and the bill which led to the formation of Gov. Weld’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth in Massachusetts.
On October 13, 1993, I organized a rally with the Coalition at the Massachusetts State House. I was among the featured speakers which included fellow activist Chris Hannon, David LaFontaine, Lt. Gov. Paul Celucci, and chief bill sponsor, Rep Byron Rushing, among others. At least three hundred were in attendance at the rally. The rally was covered by all three major local news stations, the New York Times, the Boston Herald, and The Boston Globe, which ran an editorial in its support. The rally was followed by a lobby date where groups of students from gay-straight alliances across the state lobbied senators and representatives.
On December 6th, 1993, the bill passed through the Senate Committee’s Third Reading (often a procedural graveyard for legislation) where it was held up for over a month. The Gay and Lesbian Student Rights Bill was signed into law by Gov. Weld on December 10th, 1993.
Press and Media Appearances:
- September 20, 1993 – In Newsweekly, Boston
- October 11, 1993 – IN Newsweekly, Boston (Op-Ed)
- October 12, 1993 – One In Ten, WFNX, Boston (radio)
- October 14, 1993 – Boston Globe
- October 21, 1993 – The Times
- December 7, 1993 – New York Times
- December 9, 1993 – Bay Windows, Boston
- December 10, 1993 – WBZ Channel 4 News, Boston
- December 10, 1993 – NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw
- December 10, 1993 – WLVI Channel 56 News, Boston
- December 14, 1993 – The Boston Herald
- December 16, 1993 – Belmont Citizen Herald
- December 23, 1993 – Bay Windows, Boston
- January 2, 1994 – IN Newsweekly, Boston
- January 3, 1994 – The Group PBS, Boston
- February 3, 1994 – Newsday, Long Island, New York City
- October 28, 1994 – The Oprah Winfrey Show, Chicago
- December 10, 2004 The Harvard Club (Boston)
- June 3, 1994 Simmons College (Boston)
- May 19, 1994 Leslie College (Cambridge)
- October 13, 1993 The Massachusetts State House
- July 12, 1993 Harvard Graduate School of Education
Other Press for the law