Washington Blade: New ad seeks to allay concerns about trans bathroom use
By Chris Johnson
Amid concerns LGBTQ groups aren’t doing to confront widely discredited anti-trans “bathroom predator” myths, a new ad against North Carolina’s recently enacted anti-LGBTQ law was launched Monday seeking to allay concerns about transgender people using the restroom.
The ad features Zeke Christopoulos, a transgender resident of Asheville, N.C., who observes in the video he “could be thrown in jail” for using the restroom consistent with his gender identity as a result of House Bill 2.
Also in the ad are two of his business associates. One of them, Patricia Hickling Beckman, recalls being “a little uncomfortable” upon learning Christopoulos is transgender, but then accepting the idea.
As Hickling Beckman explains why she thinks the newly enacted law in North Carolina is unfair, a clip is shown of Christopoulos standing between doors to the men’s and women’s restroom, deciding which to enter.
“When you stop and think about it, everyone needs to use the bathroom just to get through the day,” Christopoulos said. “And a law that forces Zeke to use the women’s restroom is totally inappropriate. And that’s exactly what HB 2 does.”
The ad stands in contrast to another ad from the Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign stoking fears about transgender restroom use and criticizing Donald Trump for (now reversed) comments against North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ law.
Observers have said the ad represents a change in tactics to make transgender people more visible amid movement of anti-trans bills in state legislatures, butsome of the dialogue is lifted from a similar ad LGBTQ groups ran in Houston last year ahead of the ballot vote on an LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance that was ultimately defeated.
The ad was produced by Equality North Carolina, an LGBTQ group in the state, as well as the American Unity Fund and Freedom for All Americans. Both are LGBTQ organizations founded by Paul Singer, a Republican philanthropist who seeks to advance LGBTQ rights.
Matt McTighe, executive director for Freedom for All Americans, said in a statement the ad is an opportunity for the public to see the harm caused to transgender people by anti-trans bathroom measures, such as North Carolina’s House Bill 2.
“Many Americans don’t know a transgender person, and they don’t understand the harmful consequences of laws like HB 2,” McTighe said. “But these laws do have real impacts that go far beyond lost jobs and declining investments – they impact people like Zeke, every single day. Zeke’s story is just one of many examples of why it’s time to repeal this discriminatory law. If lawmakers took the time to talk with more transgender people and their loved ones, it would be crystal clear to them why HB 2 is so unnecessary and so devastating.”
According to Freedom for All Americans, the ad will be distributed first through an online advertising buy on internet platforms like Hulu and YouTube, 95 percent of which will be in North Carolina and the remainder nationally. Additionally, the group plans a paid Facebook push split nationally and in North Carolina. According to Freedom for All Americans, more money remains in the budget to extend the buy to TV or make a second ad.
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