Gov. Deval Patrick has signed an executive order that bans discrimination against transgender employees in state government.
The measure, effective immediately, adds protections for "gender identity and expression" to existing rules against discrimination. It covers all state agencies in the executive branch of government along with companies or organizations that contract with the state.
Gunner Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, said workers should not have to fear that they could lose their jobs because of who they are.
Kara Suffredini, executive director of MassEquality, said she hopes to bring these protections to the private sector as well.
"This is a great step forward today, everyone's really excited about it, and now we're looking to get the statewide law passed," she said.
Critics have voiced concerns that the measure could lead to unisex bathrooms and locker rooms.
This program aired on February 17, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.