Amid the national uproar over a North Carolina law that codified discrimination against transgender people, more than 250 sexual assault and domestic violence organizations around the country today released a landmark statement calling for an end to legislation that harms transgender people and excludes them from restrooms and other facilities.
The nation's leading anti-sexual assault and domestic violence organizations are among the 250 groups issuing the statement. The statement was initiated by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women.
The full statement is available online at endsexualviolence.org/files/NTFNationalConsensusStmtTransAccessWithSignatories.pdf .
"Safety and privacy are important for all of us," said Terri Poore, Policy Director at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. "Passing laws like the one in North Carolina to harm transgender people, or denying them protection from discrimination, does nothing to help survivors of violence or reduce assault. In fact, they do the opposite by putting transgender people at even greater risk of violence than they already are."
The coalition's statement refutes the myth that protecting transgender people from discrimination compromises safety or privacy, and it condemns tactics that use the needs and experiences of survivors of violence to justify harming transgender people.
"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."
"Nondiscrimination laws do not allow men to go into women's restroomsperiod," the coalition of anti-sexual assault and domestic violence organizations writes. "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."
The statement also notes that in the 18 states and hundreds of cities with transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws, "These laws have protected people from discrimination without creating harm. None of those jurisdictions have seen a rise in sexual violence or other public safety issues due to nondiscrimination laws. Assaulting another person in a restroom or changing room remains against the law in every single state."
"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 protectionsand 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."