250+ Groups Working to End Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Condemn Anti-Transgender Bills

By Adam Polaski • April 21, 2016 • 10:00 am

Today a coalition of more than 250 organizations committed to ending sexual assault and domestic violence across the country released a new, first-of-its-kind national statement urging lawmakers in many states to stop pushing legislation that harms transgender Americans by restricting their access to restrooms and locker rooms.

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These organizations directly counter and condemn tactics from opponents of LGBT non-discrimination protections, who have maliciously leveraged the needs and experiences of survivors of sexual assault and violence to justify anti-transgender discrimination. The organizations that have signed on – including the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the National Center for Victims of Crime, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence – refute the myth that LGBT non-discrimination policies compromise people’s safety and privacy.

The statement reads:

“States across the country have introduced harmful legislation or initiatives that seek to repeal non-discrimination protections or restrict transgender people’s access to gender-specific facilities like restrooms,” the statement reads. “Those who are pushing these proposals have claimed that these proposals are necessary for public safety and to prevent sexual violence against women and children. As rape crisis centers, shelters, and other service providers who work each and every day to meet the needs of all survivors and reduce sexual assault and domestic violence throughout society, we speak from experience and expertise when we state that these claims are false.”

In recent weeks, bills denying transgender people access to public restrooms have been introduced and discussed in numerous states, with such bills being signed into law in North Carolina and Mississippi. In South Dakota, Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed this type of bill, and just this week a lawmaker in Tennessee withdrew her anti-transgender bill following widespread opposition and concern from businesses and public figures, including the Attorney General and governor. Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin did not advance their version of this bill – but similar legislation is currently pending or soon to be introduced in South Carolina, Michigan, and Minnesota. The statement today from these organizations serves as a strong reminder that decision-makers pushing these bills are consciously preying on Americans’ fears of a group of people who they do not understand.

The statement continues:

“Nondiscrimination laws do not allow men to go into women’s restrooms—period. The claim that allowing transgender people to use the facilities that match the gender they live every day allows men into women’s bathrooms or women into men’s is based either on a flawed understanding of what it means to be transgender or a misrepresentation of the law. …  As advocates committed to ending sexual assault and domestic violence of every kind, we will never support any law or policy that could put anyone at greater risk for assault or harassment. That is why we are able to strongly support transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections—and why we oppose any law that would jeopardize the safety of transgender people by forcing them into restrooms that do not align with the gender they live every day.”

Our executive director Matt McTighe said today’s statement is clear proof that claims from opponents of transgender equality have no basis in fact:

“Today’s announcement in support of transgender protections among state, local, and national organizations that do the important work of supporting and treating survivors of traumatic physical and sexual abuse is unprecedented. This is a huge blow to anti-transgender advocates who claim that allowing transgender people the same protections and fair access as everybody else would somehow endanger women or children. The truth is — as these 250 frontline organizations for women and children attest — there is zero evidence to substantiate these dangerous myths about transgender protections and harassment or crimes in restrooms. As legislators consider bills affecting LGBT people throughout the country, they should do their homework and know that nondiscrimination protections help many and harm no one.”

Read the full statement here. 


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