Transgender rights advocates reserve nearly $1 million in airtime for fall ballot campaign

Massachusetts State House.
Massachusetts State House.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File 2018

Advocates who want to keep Massachusetts’ transgender antidiscrimination law on the books have reserved nearly $1 million in TV time, according to a spokesman for the campaign.

Matthew Wilder said the reservation on broadcast TV in the Boston and Springfield area is an initial effort to make sure people vote yes on Question 3 on Election Day and “uphold transgender dignity and equality at the voting booth.”

The $900,000 worth of ads is set to run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 5, though the Freedom for All Massachusetts campaign could expand or contract its TV effort and is not obligated to use all the reserved time.


A state law championed by the Democratic Legislature and signed by Republican Governor Charlie Baker in 2016 allows people to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity and protects transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations. That includes hotels, bars, restaurants, malls, theaters, barber shops, gyms, libraries, and other places that are open to the general public.

The bathroom and locker room provision has raised sharp concern from opponents who gathered the signatures to give voters the option to roll back the law. They’ve asserted that male sexual predators, under the guise of being transgender women, could enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms.

But advocates of the law say such worries are totally unfounded and have not been borne out by Massachusetts’ experience, nor what has transpired in the 18 other states and the District of Columbia that have had similar protections in place for years.

A spokeswoman for the ballot committee spearheading the repeal effort, Keep Massachusetts Safe, declined to comment Tuesday on whether they plan to pursue a television campaign.

But Yvette Ollada said earlier this month that “we are going to work really hard to make sure voters are aware of the abuses of the law and how dangerous it is and why voters need to vote ‘no’ to make sure it is repealed.”​


A “yes” vote on Question 3 would keep in place the current law, while a “no” vote would repeal the law.

You can read Question 3 here.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.