More than 250 Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Organizations Condemn Anti-Trans Legislation

Maureen McCarty

Today, a broad coalition of more than 250 sexual assault and domestic violence organizations, led by the National Task Force to End Sexual and  Domestic Violence Against Women, released a powerful statement calling for the end to the scourge of discriminatory anti-transgender legislation.

The statement reads, in part (emphasis added):

“States across the country have introduced harmful legislation or initiatives that seek to repeal nondiscrimination protections or restrict transgender people’s access to gender-specific facilities like restrooms. 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.”

“Non-discrimination laws protecting transgender people have existed for a long time. Over 200 municipalities and 18 states have nondiscrimination laws protecting transgender people’s access to facilities consistent with the gender they live every day. In some cases, these protections have been in place for decades. These laws have protected people from discrimination without creating harm. ...

“Non-discrimination laws do not allow men to go into women’s restrooms—period. 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.”

Earlier this week, the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) announced it would move its 42nd annual conference scheduled for this summer out of North Carolina in response to HB2. The conference is on target to draw well over 1,000 crime victim advocates from all over the United States.

HRC has been working across the country to halt anti-LGBT bills from passing. Earlier today, HRC announced that executives from the Alcoa Inc., BASF Corporation, Ben & Jerry’s, Cascade Engineering, Dansko, Etsy, Green Mountain Power, Kickstarter, KPMG LLP, Live Nation Entertainment, New Belgium Brewing, New Seasons Market, Osceola Music, Patagonia, Self-Help, The Fresh Market, Vanguard, Warby Parker and Xerox Corporation have signed onto an open letter that now includes more than 180 leading CEOs and business leaders urging Governor Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to repeal the radical provisions in the deeply discriminatory law that was rammed through the legislature on March 23rd.

HB 2 has eliminated existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. In addition, the legislation prevents transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. It also compels the same type of discrimination against transgender people to take place in publicly-owned buildings, including in public universities, major airports, and convention centers. Further, HB 2 revokes the ability to sue under state employment non-discrimination law on the basis of any protected characteristic, including race, religion, national origin, and sex.  Lawmakers passed the legislation in a hurried, single-day session, and Governor McCrory quickly signed it into law in the dead of night. The discriminatory law is already facing a legal challenge, and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he will refuse to defend it in court.

While the governor’s recent executive order extends protections to some state workers, it does nothing to fix the vile and discriminatory provisions he signed into law through HB 2. Under HB 2, transgender people are prohibited from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity in public buildings, including the University of North Carolina campus and the Raleigh-Durham Airport. Cities still cannot adopt ordinances to prohibit discrimination against their residents and visitors. And HB 2 still prevents individuals from bringing discrimination suit in state courts.

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