‘Fear-mongering’ anti-trans bathroom advert condemned by campaigners

A “fear-mongering” anti-transgender advert featuring a man lurking in a women’s changing room has been slammed by trans campaigners.

The advert, which premiered last week, was created by opponents of a law protecting trans people from discrimination in the state of Massachusetts. It comes as the state gears up for a referendum that could lead to the legislation being repealed.

One question in the Massachusetts midterm election on November 6 is a veto referendum, which will allow citizens to vote on whether they want to repeal a state law banning discrimination in areas of public access on the basis of gender identity.

This law, called Senate Bill 2407, protects trans people from discrimination in public places, including toilets, shopping centres and restaurants.

The advert shows a man spying on a woman undressing in a female changing room. (No On 3 Keep MA Safe/YouTube)

A ‘No’ vote would mean this anti-discrimination law is repealed, while a ‘Yes’ vote would keep it in place.

Speaking to PinkNews, trans campaigners criticised a recent advert by opponents of Senate Bill 2407, which features a man lurking in a female changing room as a woman begins to undress.

Mason Dunn, executive director of Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition, told PinkNews: “This advertisement from anti-transgender activists relies on lies about our rights and identities.

“This kind of fear-mongering has a deep and troubling impact on our community as it equates our identities with crime or deceit, when transgender people only seek to live authentically and free from discrimination. We will continue to speak out and defend our rights, through education and awareness.”

Dunn also highlighted the results of recent research by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy, which showed that there is no empirical evidence to the claim that allowing transgender people to use the public facility of their choice would increase violations of privacy and crime.

Mason Dunn (left) and Ev Evnen during #Hike4Rights. (Courtesy of #Hike4Rights)

Dunn, who recently hiked across Massachusetts with fellow campaigner Ev Evnen as part of an initiative called #Hike4Rights to raise awareness about the negative impact of the law being repealed, added: “There is no link between transgender rights and an increase in criminal activity or incidents in restrooms.”

In the advert, which has been viewed more than 23,000 times, a narrator can be heard saying the new law “means any many who says he is a woman can enter a women’s locker room, dressing room, or bathroom at any time, even convicted sex offenders.”

Senate Bill 2407 was introduced in 2016 by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

The accompanying text for the advert also fails to recognise trans women as women, stating that keeping Senate Bill 2407 “means any man who says he is a woman can enter a woman’s locker room, dressing room or bathroom, at any time.”

Kasey Suffredini, co-chair of Yes on 3 Campaign, which is an initiative being led by national LGBT+ rights group Freedom for All Americans to keep Senate Bill 2407, said that the advert contributes to spreading inaccurate information about Senate Bill 2407.

“We all care about safety and privacy, and the good news is that this law doesn’t make anyone less safe,”Suffredini told PinkNews. “That’s why law enforcement and the state’s leading sexual assault prevention groups all support upholding this law.”

“This video flies in the face of the indisputable facts that show women—and everyone else for that matter—are absolutely not put at risk by this law, enacted by Governor Baker in 2016. This law simply protects transgender people from discrimination in public places.”

The advert was reportedly funded by the conservative Renew Massachusetts Coalition and Massachusetts Family Institute, as well as individual donors, according to local news outlet Mass Live.