New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched a groundbreaking campaign to educate citizens about bathroom use and gender identity.
It’s believed to be the first citywide ad campaign affirming the right of people to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity, regardless of their sex assigned at birth.
“No one deserves to be denied access to bathrooms or discriminated against for being who they are,” stated de Blasio. “Every New Yorker has the legal right to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity, no questions asked – and these powerful ads affirm this right.
“While other cities and states are legislating intolerance and taking away individuals’ right to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity, we are proudly standing with our transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers,” said the mayor.
The campaign, which kicks off LGBTQ Pride Month, includes ads and videos featuring transgender New Yorkers and instructs readers to “look past pink and blue” and to “use the restroom consistent with who you are”.
The ads will appear in subway cars, bus shelters, phone booths, ethnic and community newspapers, and in ads in digital publications and across social media in English and Spanish. Ethnic newspaper ads will appear in Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Russian and Bengali.
The campaign ads and videos were created following audience research with transgender and cisgender New Yorkers and input from transgender community and legal advocates.
The ads feature transgender New Yorkers, including Alisha King, a Bronx resident and full-time mom; Charlie Solidum, a Brooklyn resident and health care professional; Ky Platt, a Bronx resident and technical theatre professional; and Ariel Murtagh, a transgender rights activist and rising high school student.
They all took part in the campaign to raise awareness of transgender rights and the legal right to use bathrooms consistent with their identity in New York City.
“Bathroom discrimination is a regular occurrence for the transgender community,” commented King. “So much so that many of us avoid even using public restrooms to begin with. I sincerely hope these ads help people understand that transgender people are people just like you. We just want to use the restroom safely and be treated with respect.”
The move comes as various states in the US have enacted legislation restricting the use of bathrooms in public buildings, facilities and schools on the basis of gender identity.
Last month, 11 states sued the federal government over its new guidelines directing federally funded schools to allow transgender students to have equal access to facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity.