Hearing on Massachusetts Height/Weight Discrimination Bill, Mar. 25

I’m just gonna do a whole lot of quoting Marilyn Wann here:

It’s time to make history and get some fat civil rights in Massachusetts. (Actually, civil rights for people of all sizes.)

So I invite you to come testify in Boston, and to spread the word to other people who might come testify.

Here’s the important info for people who will testify at the public hearing before the labor committee:

H. 1844 public hearing
Tuesday, March 25, 2pm
Massachusetts State House in Boston
Room A-2

Our legislation is the only item on the agenda for this hearing, so there’ll be no waiting around. People should be prepared to speak for a few minutes, two or three minutes, no more than 5 minutes, I imagine.

The labor committee’s recommendation can make or break this legislation.

A little background: The sponsor of this bill, state rep Byron Rushing, has introduced height/weight anti-discrimination legislation every year he’s been in office. This year, however, is the first year
he’s had staff time to move the legislation at all. So this year is the good time for fat pride community to show up and speak up.

And if you can’t testify…

Here’s a phone number for the State House in Massachusetts, where the operator can direct state residents to the voicemail of their specific state representative.

It will be very helpful in getting the height/weight anti-discrimination bill (H. 1844) passed to have people make quick calls to their reps.

Here’s the number: (617) 722-2000

They should say the bill is very important to them. They should ask how the Rep. is voting on it. (Asking how they’ll vote means they have to get back to the person, which increases attention for the bill.)

Get out there and make this happen, Massachusetts…ians, and anyone else who’d like to testify! (If you’re not familiar with the bill, Sheana’s got some background for you here.) And if you do want to testify, please contact Marilyn (marilyn at fatso dot com) and let her know you’ll be coming.

Also, if you’re in the mood for a little more activism after that, why not submit a video to COFRA’s Dare to Show Your Face project?

24 thoughts on “Hearing on Massachusetts Height/Weight Discrimination Bill, Mar. 25

  1. I agree Rachel… it’s sad, but true. In Canada, there is a list of “protected characteristics” in our Human Rights legislation but size/weight is not one of them. It’s appalling. There is no recourse if you’ve been discriminated on the basis of size/weight, the Human Rights Commission won’t hear your case. I’m happy to see efforts like what is proposed in Mass.– we need more of it– it’s long overdue.

  2. I’m in Mass. I’ll be contacting Ms. Wann shortly.

    BTW, “Massholes” is a proud name, derived from the cold and bitter nature of both our weather and personalities. ;)

  3. “Massholes” is a proud name, derived from the cold and bitter nature of both our weather and personalities.

    Oh yes. I intended it with great fondness.

  4. I’m getting excited about this…I’m starting to channel my old debate-club days.

    What on earth do you suppose we need to talk about? I was thinking of bringing up the perception of the professional, successful person as full-time corporate dynamo, part-time gym rat. “Looking the part” of success and so forth. I also wanted to bring up my experience in the MA public school system, and how I was stigmatized and during my elementary years physically abused by other children because of my weight (the recess monitors would ignore this kind of bullying).

    I’m also very tall for a woman — which is one of the main reasons I didn’t pursue the stage. Do you suppose I should bring that up?

    I’m sure others have worse stories than I do about height/weight discrimination, but then again I was particularly abused as a child in my public school in MA (this was in the early 1990’s), so perhaps that is a good place to start…

  5. Gah. When I left the ATL, if I’d moved to Boston instead of Chicago, I could be there for this!! Go Mass-holes!!!

    P.S. Is it sad that I read “mass holes” and instantly started thinking about particle physics??

  6. I’ll probably call the number provided and leave a message for the rep for the area in Mass. I lived in until five years ago.

    If I could be there, I would. It’s about damn time!

  7. I wish I could go out to this! I also wish I could bring my camera to film it. *wants desperately to make a documentary on these issues*

    ((*has very tentatively contacted people with production experience to see how this could be done*))

  8. Hey Tari,

    An atom walks into a bar and asks if anyone has seen his electron.

    The bartender says no, and asks the atom if he’s sure his electron is missing.

    Yes, says the atom, I’m positive.

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    Sadly I’ve got a million of these.

    I wish I could go to Boston for this and I am totally gonna post about it too.

    Marilyn Wann is so totally bitchin awesome.

  9. Finally something in my area! I am SO there! And I’m very excited to finally meet other FA supporters!

  10. Oh man. I’m actually visiting Boston this week but not at the right time. I’m naturally fat, further developed by meds I need to keep me a happy, functioning member of society. Should one part of my situation be protected legally and the other part not? What about pregnant ladies? Busty gals? Just plain fat people? Also, thinking about it as ‘height’ discrimination makes it so obvious, who on earth would NOT want people to have good, fair treatment regardless of their height?

  11. ^The sad thing is, hyrax, is that people should so willingly say, “who on earth would NOT want people to have good, fair treatment regardless of their height, weight, [fill in the blank trait not related to the content of their character]?”

    Also, hyrax, you’ll find that we don’t believe in “good” or “bad” fat people. We should all be treated like human beings, not second-class citizens, regardless of how we “got” fat. :)

    So you are very much included.

  12. P.S. Is it sad that I read “mass holes” and instantly started thinking about particle physics??

    No, it is awesome, as is corinna’s joke.

  13. Aw, I love my home state. I was so proud when they made gay marriage legal, and now this. I might ask my parents to call their local reps.

  14. Pingback: Massholes — stand up and be counted « Big Liberty

  15. I am a Massachusetts resident who was recently denied a hysterectomy based on my weight. There were no medical reasons why I couldn’t have the surgery (I have since had it in New York state, there were no complications, and I am very pleased with the results) but the hospital where my family’s insurance covers us to receive care (yes, we are fully insured) has decided not to invest in equipment to provide services for fat people. In the case of an emergency they will (they must by law) treat, stabilize, and transfer. But in the case of elective surgery such as mine they can simply refuse to provide care. This is discrimination and this is perfectly legal.

    Massachusetts has recently required all its citizens to have health insurance, but my case proves that, until this bill is passed, health insurance is no guarantee of health care. I will be testifying in Boston on March 25. I encourage all Massachusetts citizens to contact their Representatives and urge them to support this bill.

  16. An atom walks into a bar and asks if anyone has seen his electron.

    The bartender says no, and asks the atom if he’s sure his electron is missing.

    Yes, says the atom, I’m positive.

    Just saw this. AND DIED LAUGHING.

  17. Hello, shapely people!

    I’m so excited about our community getting this law passed.

    Big Liberty, Laura Smith, April D., Stef, Nomie, Gail, everyone in Massachusetts…if I haven’t spoken or e-mailed with you already, please contact me. I’m hoping to coordinate with people to know what everyone will talk about, so we can make sure to cover any gaps.

    Also, if there’s anything you need to help you be able to get to the State House on Tuesday, March 25, let me know and I’ll do everything possible to get you there!

    I’m marilyn at fatso dot com. I’m also listed in San Francisco 411 phone listings. We’re gonna have fun and make some history! I can feel it!!!

    Thanks, Kate!

    For everyone who’s not in Massachusetts, please forward this info to anyone/everyone who might be there or know people there.

  18. Pingback: Calling all Massachusetts Fatties!

  19. Discrimination can always be traced back to the bottom line: money; and with that, the sad and misguided perception persists that some, because of their appearance, will be less influential in moving that bottom line. Another misconception is that people feel more comfortable with “normal-sized” people. Bull. I feel much more at ease with a person of size, and prefer to do business with people who aren’t skin and bones, because I personally view them as more trustworthy, intelligent, and dependable, especially in matters of business. Is this discrimination? Some might say yes, but they’d be wrong. It’s the natural reaction to my environment, and the way I’ve been treated for years by the so-called “non-fat” in our society, who I mostly find to be beligerant about their own ignorance. AND I’m not the only one who feels this way. With 75 percent of the population of the US being considered at least “plus-sized,” marketers and business people should take note and stop sending in bone-bags to do a BBW’s or BBM’s job.

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