LGBTQ+ Rights


My career has been dedicated to fighting for racial, social and environmental equity.

I was born with hemophilia and contracted HIV through transfusions, so I have some shared experience with discrimination and prejudice. Most men my age with hemophilia died. I have spoken up for the rights of HIV/AIDS patients since 1984, and dedicated my career to fighting for racial, social and environmental justice.

I will vigorously oppose the attempt by a small number of citizens to overturn the recent protections created for transgender citizens. The original law -- SB 2407 -- prohibited discrimination based on gender identity in public businesses or other places open to the general public, such as hotels, stores, restaurants, theaters, sports stadiums, and hospitals. The attack on the law is part of a larger national attempt to block anti-discrimination legislation by arguing that those who disagree with the provisions on religious or moral grounds should be permitted to ignore them. While I respect the first amendment rights of a person who disagrees with the law, I oppose this attempt to exempt from responsibility those who wish to discriminate against their fellow citizens. In the end, I believe that voters will reject this ballot initiative.


There is no place for discrimination in Massachusetts. If elected, I will work closely with the LGBTQ+ community to defend and expand the gains won through their tireless advocacy for equality.


  • Join the 9 other states that have banned so-called “conversion therapy” for minors, a practice opposed by the American Psychiatric Association.
  • Support LGBTQ+ awareness training for Aging Service Providers, including support for SB346 to protect LGBTQ+ older adults from homophobia and transphobia.

  • Improve sex education in schools so that curriculum is accurate, age-appropriate and comprehensive.

  • Lift barriers to: accessing HIV and STI prevention, screening and treatment by expanding access to prevention services for minors, studying out-of-network insurance coverage of HIV/STI screening services, and updating HIV screening and record-sharing laws.

  • Expand support for homeless youth, many of whom are LGBTQ+, so that they get the support they need  and can control their own futures.

  • Expand protections for the confidentiality of sensitive healthcare services on insurance statements, which is vital for LGBTQ+ youth, minors, people with HIV/AIDS, and those on another person's health plan.
The people of Massachusetts have a deep and long history of promoting fairness and inclusion. When the question of whether to continue to treat transgender people as equal members of our society ends up before Massachusetts voters in 2018, we are confident they will vote to retain the law and affirm the values of justice and equality that are the hallmarks of our Commonwealth.
— Deborah Shields, Executive Director of MassEquality