Despite its reputation as a leader for LGBT equality, Massachusetts still does not have non-discrimination protections based on gender identity, which means transgender people have no recourse should they be treated unfairly in employment, housing, education, credit, and public accommodations. Bill HB 502/SB 764, currently under consideration by the state legislature, would end those disparities, but the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) is running an offensive “No Bathroom Bill” campaign against it.
MFI’s campaign is built upon the single false idea that allowing transgender people to use the restroom of the gender by which they identify will somehow endanger women and children. A new series of radio ads fraudulently claim that the law eliminates all bathroom gender boundaries:
You know, pretty soon you won’t want her to go into a bathroom by herself anymore. You’ll have to worry about who could be in there with her. You haven’t heard about the “bathroom bill”? Yeah, Beacon Hill is about to pass a bill that lets men use women’s bathrooms. Our legislators are really going to make it legal for men to use women’s bathrooms to somehow help transgender people.
The ad goes on to suggest that bathrooms “won’t be safe anymore” because of peeping toms and sexual predators. Listen to the ads:
The reality is that there has never been a recorded case of a transgender person misusing such protections. The bill does nothing to protect “peeping toms” and “sexual predators” as the ad claims, but actually makes sure that people can use the bathroom that fits with their identity. At the bill’s hearing last month, Gunner Scott of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition responded to a question from Rep. Sheila Harrington about whether transgender people can switch genders on a “day-to-day basis.” He told her that opponents of the bill (like MFI) say “someone like me who looks male should be going into the women’s room. And I know that that’s wrong because I would make women uncomfortable.”
These insidious ads use fear to smear transgender people as pedophiles and rapists in order to ensure that they can continue to be discriminated against in society.