A television ad depicting a transgender woman being discriminated against by a restaurant owner will air during the biggest night of the Republican National Convention. And on Fox News, of all places.
The ad, titled “Restaurant,” features a transgender woman explaining that most states don’t protect transgender people from discrimination in public places. As the ad continues, the owner of the restaurant stops her from using the women’s restroom, and attempts to force her to use the men’s restroom.
The ad attempts to dispel some of the mythology surrounding bathroom use, the alleged “threat” posed by transgender people that is frequently touted by anti-trans advocates, and urges for laws to be updated to include protections for LGBT people.
Watch the video below:
Fairness USA, which created the advert, plans to premiere it in prime time on Fox News Channel on Thursday, July 21. That marks the final night of the Republican National Convention, which is expected to draw a large audience tuning in to watch Donald Trump give his acceptance speech as the party’s nominee.
Fairness USA will air the ad again on MSNBC during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia the following week.
Fairness USA is a partnership involving the Freedom for All Americans Education Fund, the Movement Advancement Project, which developed the ad, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Equality Ohio Education Fund. The ad has also received support from the Equality Federation Institute, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
It comes after a barrage of anti-transgender legislation introduced in various states, including North Carolina’s HB 2. LGBT advocates have pointed to laws like HB 2 as contributing to transgender people’s avoidance of bathrooms for fear of harassment or violence, citing preliminary statistics gathered from the national 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey.
“Transgender people desperately need laws that protect us from being unfairly fired from our jobs, kicked out of our homes, and denied access to public bathrooms, just because of who we are,” Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. “Our newly released survey data shows that 59 percent of transgender people avoided bathrooms in the last year out of fear of harassment. A shocking one in ten transgender people reported being harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted in a bathroom, and one third avoided drinking or eating so that they did not need to use the restroom. Eight percent have had medical problems like urinary or kidney infections from avoiding the restroom.”
In coalition with the ad’s release online, the Movement Advancement Project also released a report detailing the extent of nondiscrimination laws, restrictive laws like HB 2, and transgender people’s general ability to access facilities that correspond with their gender identity. LGBT rights groups hope the ad will prove educational to those unfamiliar with the concept of what it means to be a transgender person.
“Most Americans want to do the right thing, but they have never met a transgender person, so they have misconceptions,” Ineke Mushovic, executive of the Movement Advancement Project, said in a statement. “This ad cuts through the political rhetoric and simply asks people to consider the serious challenges and discrimination faced by transgender people — discrimination that is still legal in most states.”
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