News (USA)

Are LGBTQ activists preparing to surrender bathroom battle to win GOP support?

The hot topic in the world of LGBTQ activism right now is an explosive story that reportedly exposes a schism between some of the top civil rights organizations over the issue of transgender bathroom access.

BuzzFeed reporter Dominic Holden broke the news Tuesday that two dozen advocates took part in a conference call August 1st, in which one faction pushed for legislation that focuses solely on housing and employment rights for LGBTQ Americans. Those in favor proposed dropping all attempts at securing public accommodations which directly impacts the transgender community.

What remains unclear at this point is how many transgender activists took part, and with one exception, who they are.

The reasoning behind this strategy, according to the report, would be to eliminate the biggest obstacle to nondiscrimination legislation in conservative states: the dispelled but persistent myth that accommodating transgender individuals and allowing them to use public bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity would put women and children at risk of sexual violence.

There has never been even one incident in the United States of a transgender individual convicted of using access to a bathroom for sexual violence. Yet the myth persists and was cited extensively by opponents of a equal rights ordinance in Houston last year.

The focus of those willing to throw transgender Americans under the bus was now-defeated legislation in Pennsylvania that would outlaw LGBT discrimination in workplaces and housing but public places like restaurants and stores would be exempt. Holden reported that “many on the call believe this could emerge as a model for other swing states where they’ve hit barricades — namely in Ohio, Florida, and Arizona…”

“But such a deal would allow, for example, business owners to reject gay customers and require transgender women to use male facilities.

“That sort of concession breaks from years of consensus among LGBT leaders, who have tacitly agreed that civil rights bills in state legislatures or Congress should be all-inclusive. Anything less, the orthodoxy has gone, could betray transgender people who bear the brunt of discrimination in public.”

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