A group released a political ad in Masschusetts promoting transphobia and stoking fear.
Citizens of the state will be voting in the upcoming midterm election on 6 November. On the ballots will be three questions, along with candidates running for various seats of office.
One of the questions deals with transgender discrimination in public accommodations, such as public restrooms.
Question 3 is a veto referendum, allowing people to vote on whether or not they want to repeal a state law. The law in question, Senate Bill 2407, was passed in 2016. It prohibits discrimination in areas of public access on the basis of gender identity.
A No vote would repeal this anti-discrimination law, while a Yes vote would preserve it and continue protecting people who are not cisgender in Massachusetts.
A group encouraging a No vote, to ‘keep MA safe’, released an add on Wednesday (19 September). It reeks of transphobia and reinforces the harmful myth that transgender people pose a danger to others in restrooms.
According to the ad, the law says ‘any man who says he is a woman’ can enter places like a woman’s locker room or restroom, but that is wrong.
Bathroom laws harm trans people, they don’t protect others
One of the biggest myths surrounding bathroom laws is that sexual predators will take advantage of laws protecting trans people.
In fact, it’s trans people who face disproportionately high amounts of discrimination, harassment, and violence. Forcing them into unsafe places, or areas where they are uncomfortable (such as a bathroom not corresponding with their gender identity), is incredibly harmful.
A group of more than 200 sexual assault organizations came out against bathroom laws in 2016.
‘Over 200 municipalities and 18 states have nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people’s access to facilities consistent with the gender they live every day,’ they said.
‘None of those jurisdictions have [sic] seen a rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues due to nondiscrimination laws.’
CNN also did research into locations in the US with nondiscrimination laws. They consequently contacted 20 law enforcement agencies in areas with these policies, and found no evidence of bathroom assaults.
Michael Dunton, who works at the Cranston Police Department in Rhode Island, told CNN: ‘We track our sex offenders very carefully and we haven’t seen any instance of sexual predators assaulting in bathrooms.’
The midterm elections take place on 6 November.
GSN reached out to MassEquality for comment.