A common myth circulated by opponents of Massachusetts’ transgender non-discrimination law is that it somehow harms or endanger women. This claim could not be further from the truth—something that opponents of the law actually admit when pressed.
As we celebrated the 1-year anniversary of the law’s passage this weekend, these opponents were out in force pushing this myth in an effort to literally scare up support for their dangerous, mean-spirited ballot initiative.
Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute—a main backer of the repeal effort—claimed to the Associated Press this weekend that protecting women from voyeurs and others who would enter restrooms was his organization’s main priority. He said his group was merely “trying to educate voters about what he said are the real implications of the law ahead of next year’s election.”
But Beckwith’s claim soon broke down under further questioning. The AP reported in the same article that “Beckwith conceded he hasn’t heard of any cases where anyone has been charged with falsely claiming gender identity to enter a bathroom for an improper reason—or anyone charged or fined with trying to prevent someone from entering a bathroom—since the law took effect in Massachusetts.”
Share this post on Facebook now to spread the news that opponents of transgender equality are willfully pushing lies about the effects of #TransLawMA in shady attempts to force a vote to repeal the law.
“Beckwith conceded he hasn’t heard of any cases where anyone has been charged with falsely claiming gender identity to enter a bathroom for an improper reason – or anyone charged or fined with trying to prevent someone from entering a bathroom – since the law took effect in Massachusetts.” —Associated Press, July 8, 2017
Beckwith and other opponents of this law can’t defend their position for what it really is—a blatant attempt to promote discrimination against transgender people—so they hide behind a thin smokescreen of promoting public safety.
But the fact is, in the more than six months since the law has been in effect, there has been no uptick in safety concerns regarding restroom use. That’s why more than a dozen groups across Massachusetts that are legitimately concerned with safety and privacy have explicitly stated that they support the law. Domestic violence prevention organizations and public safety officials have been especially vocal in their support.
Debra J. Robbin, executive director of Jane Doe Inc.—Massachusetts’ only statewide sexual and domestic violence, non-profit, advocacy, membership organization—says that transgender people actually face disproportionately high rates of violence, harassment, and discrimination, and that makes protecting this law critically important for maintaining public safety.
“#TransLawMA is essential to ensuring that transgender people do not face discrimination in our Commonwealth when seeking to access basic public accommodations such as stores, restaurants, and hospitals,” she says. “Upholding Massachusetts’ transgender nondiscrimination law will help bring us one step closer to a world where transgender people can lead fulfilling lives free of violence and inequality.”
“#TransLawMA is essential to ensuring that transgender people do not face discrimination in our Commonwealth when seeking to access basic public accommodations such as stores, restaurants, and hospitals,” she says. “Upholding Massachusetts’ transgender nondiscrimination law will help bring us one step closer to a world where transgender people can lead fulfilling lives free of violence and inequality.” —Debra J. Robbin, executive director of Jane Doe Inc.
The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and more than a dozen other local law enforcement officials were also early supporters of the proposed bill in 2015. And their support didn’t come without evidence that this would be good public policy.
Before Massachusetts passed this law last year, 18 states had similar laws on the books and had reported no increase in public safety incidents. More than 200 cities also have local human rights ordinances (many of these existed in Massachusetts prior to the new law), and have also not reported any detriment to public safety.
The evidence is clear that protecting transgender people from being targeted and harassed in public spaces is essential for ensuring that all Bay Staters can feel safe and secure in their communities.
That’s why we must protect Massachusetts’ transgender non-discrimination law at the ballot box in 2018. Click here to counter opposition lies about transgender people—and spread the truth about #TransLawMA.