Letter from our VP / Video: Forum on Transgender Equality

Letter from our VP / Video: Forum on Transgender Equality


On October 14, roughly 100 members of our community joined in a Community Conversation on Transgender Equality, to create greater understanding as to how the outcome of Ballot Question 3 on November 6 could impact our transgender neighbors.  It was an evening of inspirational and informative discussion.  I want to thank all of our sponsors:  Temple Beth Elohim Congregants for Transgender Equity, Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills, Wellesley Village Church, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, Wellesley Friends Meeting, World of Wellesley, League of Women Voters of Wellesley, OUT MetroWest, Keshet, Freedom For All Massachusetts, and Wellesley Democratic Town Committee.

I also want to thank all of our speakers, Rabbi Sharon Clevenger, Cynthia Hansen, Sawyer Bethel, Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, Mimi Micner, and Rev. Dr. Kelly Murphy Mason, for honoring us with their stories and their expertise.  They led a discussion that moved our community to a new level of understanding about what it means to be transgender in our society.  And, thank you to Michelle Chalmers, from the World of Wellesley, for beautifully moderating that discussion.  Additionally, I want to acknowledge all the volunteers from our sponsor organizations, who assisted in planning and running the event.  

As I looked around the room that evening, my spirit was lifted by all who cared enough about our neighbors to take part in the conversation.  We were a group who came together from the four corners of our community.  It is only through conversations, like these, with all of us participating, that we can understand each other and join together to face challenges in our world.   Thank you to all who attended, including our community civic leaders Jack Morgan and Marjorie Freiman, from the Wellesley Board of Selectmen, Linda Chow, from the School Committee, and Raina McManus, from the Natural Resources Commission.  And, I need to give a shout out to the two state senators and the state representative who represent our community, all of whom support current protections for transgender individuals.  We are grateful for their support, because their commitment to maintaining dignity for all citizens of Massachusetts sends a message across Wellesley and across our commonwealth that all are welcome here.

As we developed this program, we heard from people who were concerned about taking a stand on a political issue.  I feel very strongly that ballot question 3 is not a political issue. It’s a human rights issue.  This is about how we choose to treat our neighbors, our family members, our co-workers, our students.  Yes.  It is legislation that we use to ensure the rights of our citizens, but that doesn’t make this political.  It doesn’t matter who you voted for in the last election, or who you plan to vote for on November 6.  We might disagree on many different issues.  But, the value of t’zelem elohim, that we are all created in God’s image, that we have a respect for human differences, that we believe in dignity and respect for all individuals, this is something that is shared across our community, from Temple Beth Elohim to the Village Church, and from the Wellesley Public Schools to the highest levels of of our government.

We hope that this community conversation was just the start of this discussion.   On November 6, I hope that you will join me, and the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts, in voting YES on Ballot Question 3, to protect the human dignity of all.

Ann-Mara Lanza
LWVW Vice President, Program and Calendar


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