BOSTON (AP) — A new law anti-discrimination law protecting transgender individuals in Massachusetts is coming into force.

The Transgender Equal Rights Bill will take effect Sunday — just over seven months after Gov. Deval Patrick signed it into law.

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The law adds gender identity to the state’s existing anti-discrimination laws as a protected category. Now, transgender Massachusetts residents will be protected against discrimination from employment, housing, public education as well as credit and lending.

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Gender identity will also be added to the protected categories under the state’s hate crimes law.

Attorney General Martha Coakley called the law a “much needed update,” saying it will help ensure that transgender individuals feel secure at home, work and in their communities.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.