Tuesday, February 26, the Phoenix City Council will discuss whether to add “disability,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” to the City Code as additional categories protected from discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, and certain contracts with the City—and the Religious Right is using this opportunity to spread dangerous lies about transgender Arizonans.
The Evangelical Christian lobby organization, the Center for Arizona Policy, continues to miseducate its constituency about the LGBT community in an effort to further marginalize an already politically vulnerable group of people in the name of “religious freedom.” Center for Arizona Policy is calling the ordinance a “Bathroom Bill,” and suggesting it empowers predatory men to follow little girls into public restrooms. Center for Arizona Policy is also falsely stating that churches will face civil and criminal prosecution for failing to welcome members of the LGBT community.
Here are the facts:
- This ordinance has nothing to do with bathrooms. It is an attempt to end discrimination against people on the basis of disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity in employment, public accommodations, housing, and city contracts.
- LGBT people, as well as straight people, use public restrooms in Phoenix daily without incident. Predators who attempt to harass or assault anyone anywhere in the City will continue to face the same criminal charges and prosecution they would under current law.
- Religious organizations, small private landlords, and private clubs, among others, receive exemptions under the current ordinances and will remain exempt should the changes be adopted. The Evangelical Christian churches that support Center for Arizona Policy’s ideology can rest assured that they may legally continue to discriminate against LGBT individuals and families under the new ordinance.
- More than 166 other US Cities, including Flagstaff and Tucson, have similar protections. To date, none of these cities have reported an increase in public bathroom assaults correlated to equality ordinances.
Center for Arizona Policy’s tactics in this case are shockingly irresponsible and unethical in light of the very dangerous realities faced by transgender Americans and Arizonans. Despite the volunteerism, civic engagement, and contributions made by many of the transgender citizens in our communities, studies show alarming rates of violence and harassment experienced by transgender individuals, including sexual violence and physical assault, even against children and teens.
Please click here to contact the Phoenix City Council and tell them: Public policy cannot be based on religious bigotry and fear-mongering, but must be based on facts, and evidence, and what is fair for all residents of Phoenix!