A new ad featuring a transgender woman trying to use the restroom and being rebuffed by a restaurant owner will air during Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention. Created and paid for by the Movement Advancement Project, Freedom for All Americans Education Fund and the Equality Ohio Education Fund, the piece features Alaina Kupec, a transgender woman from North Carolina.
While dining out with friends, Kupec is depicted being denied access to the correct restroom until two women intervene. The minute-long ad dramatizes the predicament faced by many transgender people across the nation in the face of heated rhetoric in places like North Carolina and Mississippi as they pass discriminatory laws aimed at curbing transgender civil rights.
“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. “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.”
“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.
“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.”
The North Carolina legislature recently adjourned without repealing the state’s odious HB2, which nullified LGBT nondiscrimination protections statewide and requires transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds with the gender listed on their birth certificate. The fate of the law is currently in the hands of the federal courts, but activists and Democratic lawmakers say the Governor will be forced to call a special legislative session to take action. The NCAA recently doubled down on their pledge to move the 2017 All-Stars Game from Charlotte if the law isn’t repealed.