transgender commercial
Screenshot of pro-transgender rights commercial.

A television commercial illustrating the real world consequences of anti-transgender bathroom laws, like North Carolina’s HB2, will feature a trans woman from the state and will make its debut on FOX during their Republican National Convention coverage. It will also air during coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump recently voiced support for the state in the battle between North Carolina and the federal government on the law, which limits transgender individuals from using the restrooms and other public accommodations matching their gender identity.

The Republican platform, which will be voted on during the upcoming convention in Cleveland, supports state laws such as HB2 and calls the federal government’s attempt to protect transgender rights around this issue an attempt to “impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people.”

Cleveland just passed an ordinance removing language that allowed business owners and employers to determine which bathrooms their patrons and employees could use, respectively.

The Democratic platform, on the other hand, says, “LGBT kids continue to be bullied at school, a restaurant can refuse to serve a transgender person, and a same-sex couple is at risk of being evicted from their home. That is unacceptable and must change. Democrats will fight for comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for all LGBT Americans and push back against state efforts to discriminate against LGBT individuals.” It will be voted on at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The 60-second ad depicts a restaurant owner blocking the transgender woman’s access to the woman’s bathroom. Eventually two other women intervene and accompany her into the women’s room.

“In most states, our laws don’t protect transgender people from discrimination in public places or when it comes to using the restroom, something we all need to do every day,” she says in the ad. “I’ve lived as a woman for many years. Most people, when they stop and think about it, they realize that when businesses can legally force me to use the men’s room, it puts me at risk for harassment and violence.”

“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,” said Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, 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 (12%) 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.”

“Most Americans want to do the right thing, but they have never met a transgender person, so they have misconceptions,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of the Movement Advancement Project, which developed the ad. “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.”

“Around the country, LGBT Americans continue to fall victim to attacks and discrimination, in our lives and at every level of government. That is especially true for transgender Americans, who are being singled out and targeted by legislators for exclusion from public places and facilities,” said Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans Education Fund. “Transgender equality is about human dignity and respect for all people. No one should be banned from something as basic as using the restroom. We hope this ad helps educate the millions of Americans watching the conventions and anyone who has not yet had an opportunity to meet and get to know a transgender person.”

The ad was funded by Fairness USA, a partnership led by the Freedom for All Americans Education Fund, the Movement Advancement Project, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Equality Ohio Education Fund, with support from the Equality Federation Institute, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

The video has already been viewed well over 100,000 times after just five days online. You can watch it below.

YouTube video

Jeff Taylor is a journalist and artist. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inside Lacrosse, and McSweeney’s Internet...