Washington, D.C., July 19, 2016 — Ben Carson attacked transgender Americans at the Republican National Convention in Ohio today, referring to them as an “absurdity” and likening being transgender to changing one’s ethnicity. Carson’s comments come just hours ahead of his prime time speaking slot during tonight’s RNC program, and just two days before a historic national television ad featuring a transgender woman is set to air on FOX News. The ad – which has garnered more than five million views in the last week – is available online at www.FairnessUSA.org.
The offensive comments aren’t surprising from Carson, who has a long history of speaking against LGBT people and supporting discriminatory measures. In the past, Carson has likened being gay to bestiality and pedophilia, and has said being gay is a choice and an “abomination.”
Carson's dangerous comments come one day after Republicans adopted a national platform that includes archaic language that singles out the transgender community for discrimination. Republicans are divided on the issue of LGBT rights. Donald Trump has offered varying opinions on the issue of transgender rights, but stated that HB2 has caused “a lot of problems” and that transgender people should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate,” adding that this policy has worked well for years.
The Fairness USA ad aims to cut through much of the heated rhetoric and introduce Americans to real transgender people and the very real challenges discriminatory laws like HB 2 present. The ad features a transgender woman from North Carolina, where HB 2 passed earlier this year. HB 2 makes it illegal for transgender people to use restrooms in public buildings that match the gender they live every day, making them susceptible to even higher levels of harassment and violence.
The ad was created by the Movement Advancement Project and funded by Fairness USA, a partnership led by Freedom for All Americans Education Fund, the Movement Advancement Project, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Equality Ohio Education Fund, with support from the Equality Federation Institute, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.