A 60-second national TV ad depicting the struggles of a transgender woman under North Carolina’s controversial HB2 law will premiere on July 21, the last day of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The ad, created by a multi-organization partnership known as FairnessUSA, will premiere on FOX News to demonstrate how HB2 — which bars transgender people from using public restrooms that match the gender they identify with — makes transgender people more prone to harassment and attack.
“This is an opportunity to educate,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of FairnessUSA member Movement Advancement Project in an interview with Lady Freethinker. Placing the ad on Fox News, a notoriously conservative network, will help the “viewership come to see transgender people in a new light.”
Mushovic noted that the ultimate goal of the ad is to “help change hearts and minds.”
In 2016 so far, more than 200 bills that discriminate against LGBT people have been introduced in the United States — many specifically targeting transgender people, according to FairnessUSA.
Data from the National Center for Transgender Equality shows that nearly 60 percent of transgender people avoided restrooms over the past year due to fear of being harassed. Twelve percent said they had been harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted in bathrooms, and one-third abstained from food and beverages so they wouldn’t need to “go.”
The FairnessUSA ad aims to move forward the current dialogue on transgender rights so we can move away from statistics like this as well as incidents like the Orlando massacre. “Misconceptions are a huge issue,” said Mushovic.
Despite the conservative-led flood of anti-LGTB legislation, Republican perceptions do appear to be changing. A growing number of conservatives — including Sen Portman of Ohio and Rep Ros-Lehtinen of Florida — support the protection of LGBT people from discrimination. Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has said that HB2 has caused “a lot of problems” and that transgender people should be able to “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.”