As the talks from the TEDxBeaconStreet Salon event at the Franklin Park Zoo have come to a close, the conversations haven’t stopped. One of the highlights of Saturday night’s event was transgender activist Mason Dunn. In his talk, Dunn shed light on the struggles he, along with many others, face in light of transphobia and bias in today’s world. Mason, the executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, explained his long journey towards becoming comfortable with his gender identity, and how nature played an enormous role in understanding himself. On November 6th, 2018, Massachusetts voters will be faced with a ballot referendum that could overturn nondiscrimination protections for gender identity and gender expression. Dunn underlined the importance of voting yes on the ballot because if the referendum isn’t passed, transgender people can be subjected to discrimination in public places, such as hospitals, grocery stores, and even zoos.
At the core of his talk, Mason focused on his planned “Hike4Rights” that will happen in August before the ballot, supporting the yes vote. Dunn, along with Ev Evnen, director at the MaeBright group, and Ev’s dog Maxwell, will travel from the Massachusetts-Connecticut border to Mt. Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, and finish at the Massachusetts-Vermont border. To further explain the 95-mile trek, Dunn stated, “We are hiking for our rights as transgender people for access to public accommodations. The TEDx platform gave me the opportunity to talk to people here in Massachusetts, but also viewers across the world.”
After reflecting on the TEDx event, and about his plans for Transgender activism going forward, Mason stated,“It is critical to share the information about transgender identities and rights, in order to debunk the misconceptions people have about the transgender community.”
If you are interested in learning more about Mason’s mission, you can follow MassTPC on the following social media: Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.