Four North Carolina Universities Debunk Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Predator" Myth

Four North Carolina Universities Debunk Anti-LGBT "Bathroom Predator" Myth

››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

The collective experience of four North Carolina colleges and universities helps debunk the right-wing myth that adopting nondiscrimination protections for transgender people, particularly students, will lead to harassment or assault in bathrooms and locker rooms. Davidson and Guilford colleges and Elon and Wake Forest universities join the school district officials, law enforcement experts, and advocates for victims of sexual assault in countering this persistent myth.

North Carolina Passed Anti-LGBT Law Limiting Transgender Bathroom Use

North Carolina Recently Passed A Law Severely Regulating Public Restroom Access For Transgender People. On March 23, the North Carolina state legislature passed a "sweeping" law that invalidated local governments' ability to provide legal protections for LGBT people. This action was catalyzed by a local ordinance passed in Charlotte that provided nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, including allowing transgender individuals to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. [The Charlotte Observer, 3/23/16]

Law's Boosters Point To "Bathroom Predator" Myth As Reason To Limit Use

Proponents Of North Carolina's Law Falsely Claim That Nondiscrimination Protections For Transgender People Would Allow Sexual Predators To Sneak Into Restrooms. Anti-LGBT activists who pushed for the passage of the North Carolina law falsely claimed that nondiscrimination protections for transgender people would allow male sexual predators to dress up as women and sneak into women's restrooms, and that women and children would be "forced to undress in front of men." Some North Carolina politicians echoed these claims, calling the law necessary to protect the safety of women and children. [Media Matters, 3/23/16; U.S. News & World Report, 3/24/16]

Experts Have Debunked "Bathroom Predator Myth"

Independent Experts Have Debunked The "Bathroom Predator" Myth. Law enforcement officials, victims' rights advocates, and human rights commission officials in states and localities with transgender nondiscrimination protections have debunked the claim that sexual predators will exploit nondiscrimination laws, calling it "beyond specious." [Media Matters3/20/14Media Matters, 3/14/16; Media Matters2/16/16Media Matters1/12/16Media Matters10/15/15Media Matters10/15/15]

Collective Experience of 17 School Districts Across The Country Debunks Right-Wing Lies About Protections For Transgender Students. The collective experience of 17 U.S. school districts shattered the right-wing myth that prohibiting discrimination against transgender students causes confusion and inappropriate behavior. Years after implementing their own anti-discrimination policies, none of the school districts had experienced any problems. [Media Matters, 6/3/15]

Four N.C. Colleges/Universities Debunk "Bathroom Predator" Myth

Media Matters Contacted Officials At Private Universities And Colleges In North Carolina With Gender Identity Protections. Media Matters contacted officials at North Carolina universities and colleges that allow transgender students to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity and asked whether they had experienced "any incidences of harassment or inappropriate behavior" as a result. Media Matters specifically raised the oft-heard criticism that protecting transgender students will "result in confusion, harassment, or inappropriate behavior" such as "students pretending to be transgender to sneak into locker rooms or bathrooms." Four schools responded that they had experienced no problems; a fifth, Duke University, referred Media Matters to its official statement, which affirmed its commitment to equality and said "we deplore any effort to deny any person the protection of the law because of sexual orientation or gender identity." [Duke University, 3/24/16]

Four North Carolina Universities With A Total Of Over 18,000 Enrolled Students Debunk "Bathroom Predator" Myth

Davidson College

Davidson College Enrolls 1,950 Students. [Davidson University, accessed 3/31/16]

Davidson: No "Reports Of Harassment Or Inappropriate Behavior." Becca Taylor, assistant dean of students, told Media Matters that the college had received no reports of problems related to allowing transgender students access to facilities that align with their gender identity:

As a longtime advocate for inclusivity, access and equality, Davidson resolutely opposes any effort to exclude or discriminate against any person on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. The college has not received reports of harassment or inappropriate behavior as a result of its gender nondiscrimination policies. [Email exchange, 3/31/16]

Elon University

Elon University Enrolls 6,631 Students. [Elon University, accessed 3/29/16]

Elon Has Received "No Reports" Of Incidents Related To Bathroom Use. Daniel J. Anderson, vice president for university communications, told Media Matters that the university, which has "always" allowed transgender students to access facilities that align with their gender identity, has not had any reported incidents in relation to the policy (emphasis original):

Elon University has received no reports of incidents of harassment or inappropriate behavior related to the use of restroom facilities by transgender students. [Email exchange, 3/28/16]

Guilford College

Guilford Enrolls 2,137 Students. [U.S. News & World Report, accessed 3/28/16]

Vice President Of Student Affairs And Dean Of Students Reports No Issues From Facilities Policy. Todd Clark, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, told Media Matters that the college had not experienced any incidences of confusion, harassment, or inappropriate behavior as a result of the college's nondiscrimination policy:

No, we have not experienced any of the behaviors described. Thank you. [Email exchange, 3/28/16]

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest Enrolls 7,699 Students. [Wake Forest University, accessed 3/28/16]

Wake Forest Reports No Issues Protecting Transgender Students' Access To Facilities. Katie Neal, executive director of news and communication, reported that the university, which has had policies protecting transgender students in place since 2011, has not had any issues allowing students to use facilities that align with their gender identity:

We have not had any issues reported. [Email exchange, 3/28/16]  

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