The recent trend of anti-transgender bills requiring people to use public restrooms that align with their birth identity already has many transgender people nervous about using public bathrooms. Now, Liberty Counsel president Anita Staver has brought an actual gun into an already loaded issue.
Staver posted an inflammatory tweet in response to Target’s April 19 statement that transgender employees and customers are invited to ” use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
— Liberty Lawyer (@AnitaStaver) April 22, 2016
Orlando-based Liberty Counsel is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Staver is the wife of Mat Staver, who founded and chairs the notorious anti-LGBT organization. Liberty Counsel has supported and pushed forward many of the anti-transgender bills that are under consideration or have been enacted, nationwide.
Watermark has contacted both Liberty Counsel and local transgender activists. Watch this space – we will post their statements as we receive them.
UPDATE: Statement from Equality Florida’s Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan:
“TransAction Florida, Equality Florida’s Transgender Rights Division is both outraged and alarmed by the recent tweet by Anita Staver, President of The Liberty Counsel, a hate group dedicated to discrimination against the LGBT community. Her tweet clearly advocates violence against an already vulnerable community. The transgender bathroom issue has been debunked time and again. It is an inflammatory issue designed to mobilize hate and misinformation about the transgender community. National and state studies consistently show that there have been absolutely no increases in public safety issues where fully inclusive diversity policies have been passed.
In short this is a solution to a manufactured issue in search of a problem that does not exist.
Today’s tweet, however, goes too far and is totally unacceptable. Advocating the need for a hand gun as a “bodyguard” in a bathroom is inflammatory hate-mongering that can truly lead to loss of life for simply using the bathroom.
Equality Florida is taking decisive and immediate steps to stem the tide of this hateful rhetoric and to elevate the truth around bathroom safety issues and transgender rights.
We call on all Floridians to renounce this hateful and unfounded rhetoric and reject any public policy actions designed to further marginalize our transgender community. Our young people are frightened and are looking for us to stand our ground against this vicious attack against the transgender community. We call on the Liberty Counsel to meet with Equality Florida to justify their advocacy of carrying fire arms into public restrooms when there is entirely no justification for doing so.
It is time we move past this politically motivated hate speech designed to denigrate the transgender community. Discrimination wrapped in religion is still discrimination.
Stop the hate speech, stop the lies, stop the violence.”
UPDATE #2: Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver issued this statement to Watermark after 4 p.m.
“Women are not concerned about transsexuals committing violence. They are concerned about men using ‘gender identity’ as an excuse to stalk and sexually assault them.” said Mat Staver, Esq.
We will, of course, have more on this later.