Domestic violence advocates are taking on the “bathroom predator” myth and other fear-mongering rhetoric that is being pushed by opponents of transgender equality in efforts to undermine #TransBillNH (HB 487).
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) officially endorsed #TransBillNH during the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs (HHS) Committee meeting two weeks ago. In her testimony before the HHS Committee, NHCADSV Public Policy Director Jessica Eskeland said non-discrimination legislation is critical to ensuring that victims of domestic violence can have their two most critical needs met when they leave an abusive relationship: employment and housing.
WATCH the NHCADSV’s endorsement of #TransBillNH:
Some opponents of #TransBillNH are pushing the dangerous and completely false idea that laws protecting transgender Granite Staters from discrimination will encourage “bathroom predators,” but according to Eskeland and other public safety and policy experts, that could not be further from the truth.
In her testimony before the HHS Committee, Eskeland highlighted that 18 other states and 200+ municipalities across the country have laws similar to #TransBillNH in place, and have seen no increase in public safety incidents. Eskland reiterated that New Hampshire already has laws on the books that prohibit people from entering restrooms or other public spaces to harass or intimidate others, and #TransBillNH upholds those protections.
In fact, Eskeland noted, transgender people are much more likely to be victims of violence—not perpetrators—which is why #TransBillNH is so desperately needed. Her testimony echoed concerns that Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso expressed when he endorsed #TransBillNH on behalf of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police (NHACP) during the same committee meeting.
According to Eskeland, 64 percent of transgender people will experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. And when someone is fleeing an abusive situation, she said, they need a safe place to live that’s far away from their abuser. But without housing non-discrimination laws in place in New Hampshire, finding that safe place is much harder and might dissuade victims from seeking help.
“We feel that our advocates need every tool in their toolbox to adequately serve these folks and give them the help that they need and this bill is critical to doing that.” —NHCADSV Public Policy Director Jessica Eskeland, testifying in favor of #TransBillNH
Clearly, women’s rights groups and public safety experts support this legislation because they know it makes our communities safer, not more dangerous. That’s the message House lawmakers need to hear as they prepare for this week’s vote on #TransBillNH. Click here to rush a message to your lawmakers urging them to make our communities safer and support #TransBillNH.