Attorney General Maura Healey arrived at WGBH dressed in bright green—not to celebrate St. Patrick, but to advocate for the rights of transgender individuals across the state. “This is the color of transgender equality, and the movement,” Healey said in an interview with Boston Public Radio Tuesday.

Healey is meeting with families of transgender youth today to discuss a controversial civil rights bill that is currently pending in the legislature. In accordance with current laws, Massachusetts prohibits discrimination against transgender people in the workplace and in housing. The new bill, (which has been dismissed by opponents as the ‘Bathroom Bill’) would ban discrimination in areas of public accommodation, including restaurants, shopping malls, and medical facilities.

“To me, this is really, really important,” Healey said. “This is about civil rights, it’s about respecting the dignity of each and every human being, and unfortunately, right now, in this state, it is not illegal to discriminate against someone based on the fact that they’re transgender.”

According to Healey, it’s illogical to have anti-discrimination laws for employers that don’t extend to the general public, including consumers. “It’s just asinine, and I’ll tell you why,” Healey said. “Those same entities, as employers, aren’t allowed to discriminate, because a few years ago the legislature did a great thing and passed a law prohibiting discrimination against transgender folks when it comes to employment, when it comes to housing, when it comes to schools. So all these people have figured it out, and I think we need to close the loop here and catch up with 17 other states, and make sure it’s clear to the public—you can’t discriminate when it comes to places of public accommodation.”

This is about civil rights, it's about respecting the dignity of each and every human being, and unfortunately, right now, in this state, it is not illegal to discriminate against someone based on the fact that they're transgender.

The bill received supported from Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, and presidents of the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers, among others. Governor Charlie Baker has expressed reservations, insisting that the details are important. “I have spoken to [Baker],” Healey said, “and I told him that this is important, and it’s important to do for these families. It’s an important principle when it comes to equality here in our state.... we’ve got to get this bill passed."

The legislation itself, Healey insists, is not complex. “It’s really simple,” she said. “It says don’t discriminate based on somebody’s gender identity or expression. Pretty simple. It also says, if you want to get into the bathroom discussion, which I think a lot of the opponents wave around to try to scare people, it’s again, very simple. In fact, you know what’s happening now? Transgender people actually go to the bathroom during the course of the day. When they’re out and about? They really do, they’re (remarkably) just like everyone else! And you know what? There hasn’t been an incident, and there won’t be when this is passed.”

In accordance with the bill, businesses and places of public accommodation would not be required to build new bathrooms or make drastic changes. “All you need to do is let people use the bathroom that they associate with their gender identity,” Healey said. “It is really simple, it is not complex, and more important than anything, in my view, it is something that is long overdue. We need to do it for these families, we need to do it for these young people in particular.”

For Healey, this bill is personal. “I just find it really heartbreaking,” she said. “These are kids, you know? These are teenagers who have to live, and go to school, and get on a bus and worry about being harassed or bullied or stigmatized… Life is short, and we’ve got complex issues to deal with in this state, this should not be one.”

To hear this interview in full, click on the audio links above.