transgender, trans, advertisement, ad, PSA, Fairness USA

The Trans Bathroom Ad That’s Going to Rock the Republican National Convention

Fairness USA, a coalition of LGBT rights organizations, are throwing anti-transgender discrimination right where it belongs: down the toilet. While the right wing’s opposition has played on fears of seeing transgender people in public restrooms, Fairness USA is putting an ad on national television that faces those fears head on, starting with FOX New’s coverage of the Republican National Convention this next Thursday.

Ineke Mushovic — Executive Director of Fairness USA’s member organization, the LGBT Movement Advancement Project (MAP) — told Unicorn Booty that in their conversations with people across the country, they found that it is possible to “help educate the public about what it means to be transgender, and why protections for transgender individuals are essential.”

In the ad, a transgender woman eats with friends, but when she gets up to use the appropriate restroom, she is prevented from entering and expresses her fears of going into the wrong restroom. A moment later, friendly strangers come to her aid.

Mushovic says that although people are struggling about the issue, most Americans really want to do the right thing. “When they hear from and see everyday transgender people, and hear about the deep mistreatment transgender people face, then they start to better understand why we need nondiscrimination laws that also protect LGBT people.

According to The New York Times, the woman in the ad is played by a North Carolina transgender woman. North Carolina has, of course, been the site of an ongoing and particularly heated anti-transgender battle, following the passage of one of the most obnoxious anti-transgender laws ever.

The ad is important because, as Mara Keisling — Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), another organization in the Fairness USA group — notes, “59 percent of transgender people have avoided bathrooms in the last year because they were afraid of problems like being confronted by others. A shocking one in 10 (12 percent of) transgender people report they have been harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted in a bathroom in the last year, and one-third of transgender people have avoided drinking or eating so that they did not need to use the restroom.”

Matt McTighe of Freedom for All Americans (FFAA) told Unicorn Booty, “We are working with our state partners, directly and through the Equality Federation, to ensure that this ad gets used in local efforts to combat the vicious anti-trans efforts currently underway throughout the nation.”

FFAA is the year-old national organization tasked with building the campaign to achieve full equality for LGBT Americans. Along with MAP, NCTE, and FFAA, the Equality Ohio Education Fund rounds out the principle Fairness USA coalition, in partnership with a host of other national and state organizations.

McTighe and Mushovic said that in addition to airing the ad on FOX during the Republican National Convention, if they are able to raise additional funds, they hope to air it on MSNBC during the Democratic National Convention one week later, as well as airing future spots in other campaigns.

McTighe said, “The hope is that people who’ve never really considered the human side of how these anti-trans bathroom laws harm people will see this ad and be curious enough to learn more.”

The curious and fear-mongers alike can see the ad at www.FairnessUSA.org.