Dear Southie Voters, Please Join Us by Voting “Yes” on Question 3 in November
Written by SHANE DUNN AND ELIZABETH BERNARDI
Our son, Liam, recently celebrated his first birthday! Parenting him is the greatest responsibility of our lives. As our son grows up, currently in Southie where we have lived for several years, we want to support him and others in every way we can, including shaping a better city, state, country, and world for him to inherit. As new parents, we are voting yes on question 3 this November because we want to raise our family in a state that is welcoming and inclusive, one where transgender people are protected from discrimination, particularly in public places. We hope all voters in South Boston will join us in voting yes on 3 on November 6.
Question 3 is the November ballot question that will ask voters whether to uphold the Commonwealth’s current transgender nondiscrimination law. This law prevents discrimination and harassment in public places like stores, restaurants, doctors’ offices and public restrooms. This law has been in place for two years and there have been no negative consequences since it passed. Repealing basic protections for transgender people hurts all of us, including families committed to teaching their children the importance of fairness, dignity, and respect.
Regardless of Liam’s future gender identity or sexual orientation, we will raise him to be supportive and kind to all people. Our family will always choose love over fear and inclusion over discrimination. There is no defensible reason to discriminate against transgender people. Sadly, there are some in this Commonwealth who are exploiting unfounded fears to marginalize these neighbors and colleagues. We cannot allow discrimination to prevail this November, which is why we are speaking out in support of Yes on 3.
Parenting has changed many aspects of our worldview, but we have always believed that all people should be treated fairly. We are both proud allies and we recognize that LGBTQ people have fought for decades to win rights that we, as straight people, easily take for granted. We love our LGBTQ family and friends, and so does Liam. He, like all children, sees everyone as worthy of his love and friendship. We will teach him that they also deserve dignity. And, of course, we will teach him the importance of equal protection under the law.
We choose to fight for the rights of all people, because we believe the privileges of being a straight, white couple give us the responsibility to speak out for equality and equity. We empathize with parents who fear for their transgender children and the future that awaits them. No one is questioning how we live our lives as straight people raising a child and that’s why it’s critical for us to stand in solidarity with other families in this fight. Our Commonwealth must continue to protect transgender people of all ages, and we ask voters in South Boston and beyond to join us by voting Yes on 3.
If opponents of transgender equality successfully repeal the existing law that protects transgender people in public spaces, it will not only carry our great Commonwealth backward; it will be a catalyst for those who seek to roll back hard-fought LGBTQ rights and protections nationally.
As Liam’s parents and working professionals, it is very important to us that the Commonwealth is inclusive and our laws protect all people for decades to come. We ask you, fellow South Boston voters, to join us by voting yes on question 3 on November 6.
Elizabeth Bernardi and Shane Dunn
Parents to Liam
South Boston, Massachusetts
Shane is a member of the board of directors of GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) in Boston.
I don’t understand why this is a ballot question. Haven’t heard or read one thing locally regarding either side of this issue. If you can even call it an “issue.”
I’d get it if it was a new vote for transgender rights, but a repeal? Why? What triggered this? Some suburban mom who’s afraid their daughter might possibly feel uncomfortable in the bathroom one or two times in their life when a transgender person happens to be in there? Please….
That’s exacty why this question was put on the ballot. It’s small-minded and transphobic.
Our friends, families and neighbors deserve better.
Please talk to your neighbors and fellow voters and ask them to support #YesOn3
Right! Starting to get a little, um, crazy?
I’m sure you are great parents
I agree, they seem like fantastic parents who care about their family and community.