Standing in Solidarity with the LGBTQ Community on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia
May 17, 2016
May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia and the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) joins other anti-violence groups in supporting the safety of the LGBTQ community and opposing initiatives and policies that place members of the LGBTQ community in danger.
Despite achieving marriage equality in 2015 in the United States, the LGBTQ community continues to face discrimination and inequality. Internationally, some countries continue to criminalize homosexuality or transgender identity. North Carolina’s recent passage of House Bill 2 forces transgender individuals to use the bathroom associated with their birth sex rather than the gender they identify with or present as. Several states have introduced similar initiatives that place the transgender community in danger.
Such initiatives are presented as a way to keep women and children safe from sexual predators and sexual violence – claiming that transgender individuals using a bathroom that does not align with their assigned biological sex will lead to predatory behavior and sexual violence. However, many police officers and sexual assault survivor advocates agree that this fear is unfounded and based on a misunderstanding of sexual assault, as there is no evidence to suggest that would-be assailants will gain access to victims by pretending to be transgender.
In reality, the transgender community, and specifically trans women of color, face the threat of violence on a daily basis and need laws in place to protect them from discrimination. The U.S Department of Justice has acknowledged that HB2 violates federal civil rights laws and has filed a lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction to prevent North Carolina from enforcing its discriminatory law.
NNEDV believes that to create a social, political, and economic environment in which violence against women no longer exists, we must support equality and safety for all. To that end, NNEDV has signed on as a supporter of the National Consensus Statement of Anti-Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Organizations in Support of Full and Equal Access for the Transgender Community. As the statement explains:
“The efforts to ban transgender people from using public restrooms obscures the fact that all of us, including transgender people, are deeply concerned about safety and privacy in restrooms. Transgender people experience unconscionably high rates of sexual assault and forcing them out of facilities consistent with the gender they live every day makes them vulnerable to assault. As advocates committed to ending sexual assault and domestic violence of every kind, we will never support any law or policy that could put anyone at greater risk for assault or harassment. That is why we are able to strongly support transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections and why we oppose any law that would jeopardize the safety of transgender people by forcing them into restrooms that do not align with the gender they live every day.”