HRC Blog

Anti-LGBT Campaign Runs Transphobic Ad

Post submitted by Eric Cameron, HRC Digital Media Specialist

Equality advocates in Alaska are calling on their opponents to remove an insulting, transphobic ad from the air. HRC is on the ground in Alaska, supporting One Anchorage in advance of an April 3 vote on a ballot initiative that would add protections to the municipal code based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Anchorage, Eagle River, Chugiak and Girdwood.

Vote No on 5 debuted the radio and television ad earlier this week. It features a cartoon character applying for work at a day care center. The narrator claims that if Prop 5 passes, it will be “illegal for Carol to refuse a job to a transvestite who wants to work with toddlers.” Check it out:

The ad blatantly misrepresents the truth in a number of different ways. For one thing, this is a civil law, not a criminal one. "Carol" and other Anchorage employers could not go to jail for the reasons described, even if they did discriminate. Gender identity protections do not override workplace grooming and dress standards. And over 165 cities and 16 states have already enacted workplace protections for transgender people, without any of the dramatic problems or consequences suggested in the ad.

In a press conference yesterday, One Anchorage spokesman Trevor Storrs called the ad an "offensive, stigmatizing and distorted" representation of a transgender person, with imagery that is “definitely fanning the flames of fear that can lead to hate and violence."

Jim Minnery, one of the ad’s producers, seemed less concerned about harm inflicted and more about spreading misinformation as efficiently as possible. “You kind of have to cut to the chase; you have 30 seconds," he told the Anchorage Daily News.

As HRC has previously reported, 97 percent of self-identified transgender people have reported being mistreated at work, and 26 percent reported losing their jobs because they are transgender. If passed, Anchorage’s Proposition 5 would provide much-needed legal protections to LGBT Alaskans in employment, housing and other public accommodations. All hardworking people deserve the right to provide a living and protect their families, without fear of discrimination.

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