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BATHROOM PRIVILEGES

A transgender equality ad will air on Fox News during the Republican National Convention

Screenshot via YouTube
Discriminatory bathroom laws are allowed in 32 states.
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

The Republican National Convention is scheduled to take place on July 18 to 21. At its height, on July 21, when the party is scheduled to officially nominate its presidential candidate, the conservative channel Fox News will air an ad produced by a collection of LGBT organizations, aimed at educating the public on the dangers transgender people may face when forced to use the wrong bathroom.

The ad depicts Alaina Kupe, a transgender woman, being forced to use a men’s bathroom and facing harassment for it in North Carolina, where since March the law has required people to use a toilet corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate.

There have been widespread protests against the law and the federal government has sued the state because it says the measure goes against federal anti-discrimination law. According to the preliminary findings of a survey of over 27,000 transgender Americans—the largest such survey ever—59% report having avoided public bathrooms for fear of confrontation, and 12% have been harassed.

Currently, according to Ineke Mushovic (paywall), director of the Movement Advancement Project, one of the groups behind the ad, the scenario depicted in it would be legal in 32 of the 50 states, as only 18 states and Washington, DC effectively have laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

Since the Republican National Committee has expressed support (pdf) for ”bathroom bills” like North Carolina’s, it is particularly striking that the ad will air during the conservative party’s convention. (We’ve contacted Fox to ask about how the decision to let the ad air then was taken.) The Fox news spot alone cost $270,000, the Associated Press reports, and the ad will be shown on other times on Fox and on MSNBC during the Democratic National Convention.

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