(Charleston, SC) – Statement by Melissa Moore, the Executive Director of We Are Family on the introduction of S 1203:
“Right now, a life of safety and dignity is being pushed out of reach for far too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. A bill introduced in the South Carolina General Assembly yesterday would make it that much worse.
We should each be able to move freely through the public spaces of our state without barriers or discrimination – to be able to access public facilities without disrespect or discrimination, to use the bathrooms or locker rooms that are appropriate for each of us without harassment, and to have the same rights and access as anyone else.
This bill would deny transgender and gender nonconforming people the ability to utilize the bathroom that is best for them. The sponsor is replicating part of a bill that was passed in North Carolina (House Bill 2) that resulted in public outcry, businesses pulling their contracts from the state and a veto by the governor. The fact that such a hateful policy that was soundly rejected by so many and demonstrated to have great harm would be replicated is bad enough, but the way that it perpetuates hateful rhetoric and myths about trans people is truly reprehensible.
Bills like this one have been introduced around the country based on claims that they are needed for public safety, but it is transgender people whose safety is at risk. People do not need to be protected from the transgender community. The sponsor admitted that there have been no problems reported and that there is really no need for this bill. Further, it is transgender people who are experiencing harassment and violence.
Transgender people face incredible discrimination in the workplace, in schools, and in public places. They face threats and physical assaults in public spaces like restaurants, parks and in bathrooms. It is transgender people who are being hurt and killed. We should be moving policies that ensure that transgender people have equal rights and access, not pushing bills that make it that much worse.
Transgender people are being killed. More transgender women were killed in 2015 than any other year on record and here we have lawmakers whose job it is to ensure equal access and participation in our state advancing laws that oppress and harm.
Policies like S 1203 feed into the climate that results in violence and disrespect of the transgender community. This is not only a waste of time when lawmakers could be advancing policies that help people in our state, but it is also hateful and insulting.”
Melissa Moore is available for an interview upon request.
We Are Family (WAF) is one of the oldest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) nonprofit organizations in South Carolina, and one of few resources in the state dedicated to providing direct services and support for youth. We envision a South Carolina where every LGBTQ young person has what they need to not just survive, but to thrive.