As transgender people have gained visibility and their fight for equal rights has intensified, opponents have argued that providing equal access to public accommodations (like restrooms) will lead to sexual assault and the loss of an expectation of privacy.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law has debunked the “transgender predator” myth, proving that the belief doesn’t match reality.
Researchers were unable to find any actual evidence of sexual predators taking advantage of laws supporting transgender equality.
Instead, the only source of actual claims being presented were by anti-LGBTQ organizations, such as the American Family Association and their ilk. Their claims could not be confirmed.
Lead researcher Brian Barnett discovered just how scarce such cases were.
“We found only one instance – one! – of a transgender perpetrator in an alleged sex crime in a changing room,” Barnett wrote in a Huffington Post editorial.
“Likewise, we found just one case where a man – who, frankly, sounds like provocateur – allegedly entered a women’s locker room without disguising his gender in any way and stated that a new local law expanding transgender bathroom access allowed him to be there,” he wrote.
Conservative groups have claimed more than 100 possible cases to argue against transgender rights, but the vast majority of these incidents have involved non-transgender men violating women’s spaces. This is already considered criminal behavior.
Additionally, some cases were of transgender people in sex-segregated spaces where they had not participated in any criminal behavior.
These myths of transgender predators have been used over the last decade to halt the advance of transgender rights – and even torpedo larger LGBTQ rights battles. The most visible example of this was the repeal of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in Texas.
There are fears of the same thing occurring this November in Massachusetts, with the fight over Question 3 intensifying as Election Day looms. This could lead to the repeal of Massachusetts’ existing transgender anti-discrimination law.