On Monday, we again saw the amazing persuasive power of transgender people and their family members, friends and community allies sharing their stories. Committee members listened with empathy for nearly 6 hours to dozens of stories of discrimination. And testifiers didn’t get rattled, even while opponents of HB 1319 trotted out some of the most disgusting anti-transgender myths.
The most damaging being one we hear frequently: that granting transgender Granite Staters full legal protections in public places will embolden “bathroom predators.”
This is a tactic we’re well acquainted with. Public support for transgender freedom is gaining ground, so opponents of HB 1319 are turning to falsehoods to scare lawmakers into weakening or killing the bill. As we enter this critical time, when a final Senate vote is imminent, it’s important to address these myths head on.
First, and most importantly, there is no evidence whatsoever that protecting transgender people from discrimination in public places like restaurants, retail shops, hospitals—and yes, restrooms and locker rooms—hurts public safety. We know this because 18 states, Washington D.C. and more than 200 municipalities across the United States have full non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and public places and have seen no increase in public safety incidents.
Furthermore, HB 1319 explicitly states that gender identity “shall not be asserted for any improper purpose.” There is absolutely nothing in this bill preventing police from holding accountable someone who goes into a restroom to harass others. It should be obvious that the NH Women’s Foundation would not support a bill that harms women, and the NH Association of Chiefs of Police would not support a bill that would make our public spaces unsafe.
Opponents of HB 1319 also like to say that legally protecting transgender people means a man could just “wake up one day,” claim to be a woman, then access women’s facilities. This is false. Nondiscrimination policies across the country make it clear that gender must be honest and sincere.
Opponents of HB 1319 also like to say that legally protecting transgender people means a man could just “wake up one day,” claim to be a woman, then access women’s facilities. This is false. Nondiscrimination policies across the country make it clear that gender must be honest and sincere. There are proven ways to assess this, and they are actually written into the law.
What these concerns really boil down to is some people’s discomfort with transgender people—but discomfort is no reason to discriminate.
Unfortunately, these myths seem to be having an effect on some senators—so we need to flood their offices with the truth before they vote, which could happen any day.