Pro-Gender-Identity-Law Yes-on-3 Campaign Releases First Video Ad

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The Yes on 3 campaign has released its first video ad, showing a father and an adolescent who was born a female but now identifies as a boy advocating for legal protection for transgender people.

“I love my kids, and I’d do anything to protect them. For me, that includes taking care of my transgender son, Ian,” the dad says in a voiceover of the 30-second ad, as he and Ian and an adult woman and an adolescent girl with long hair are shown at a breakfast table in a home.

A subtitle says, “Ian was born a girl but always knew he was a boy,” as Ian struggles in slow motion to get a dog toy out of a black dog’s mouth in a yard, while pleasant music plays in the background.

The dad continues:

“Just like other kids, he likes hanging out with friends. So I want him to be protected from discrimination in public places, like restaurants,” as Ian is shown getting a beverage in a plastic cup at a coffee shop.

“That’s why I’m asking you to vote yes on Question 3,” Ian says. “It lets me live my life, just like everyone else.”

“Vote yes on 3,” the dad says.

“And protect Massachusetts kids like me,” Ian says.

The family is not identified by name other than Ian.

Question 3 asks voters if they want to uphold or end a state statute signed into law in July 2016 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in public accommodations.

State law defines public accommodations as including coffee shops like the one shown in the ad.

But it also includes – more controversially, in the case of Question 3 – public bathrooms, locker rooms, and beauty parlors, among other places.

Supporters of the law say it provides dignity and needed legal protection for transgender people who often experience discrimination and abuse.

“We are proud that Ian and his family were willing to share their story and remind voters what is truly at stake with this ballot question,” said Matt Wilder, a spokesman for Yes on 3, in a written statement. “Voting ‘Yes on 3’ ensures young transgender people like Ian grow up in a state where they know they are welcomed and accepted for who they are. Nothing about this law makes anyone less safe, which is why the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and the state’s leading sexual assault prevention groups all unanimously support this law. All this law does is protect transgender people like Ian from discrimination and harassment.”

Opponents of the law say it threatens the safety and dignity of women and girls because it allows biological males who identify as women to enter spaces meant for females only.

Yvette Ollada, spokesman for Keep Massachusetts Safe, which is advocating a No vote on Question 3, said the Yes-on-3 ad misses the point.

“The ad is grossly misleading about what this law does. There are currently already other laws and legal protections in place to protect transgender persons. The Bathroom and Locker Room Law is specific to bathrooms and spaces where there is an expectation of privacy, NOT restaurant service,” Ollada said in an email message

No-on-3 advocates say sex offenders can use the state’s gender-identity law to gain access to spaces meant for females by claiming to identify as women, whether they actually do or not.

“This law leaves women and girls no recourse if a convicted sex offender is in the women’s facility. Under this law, as long as he does not touch or film her, he is allowed to be in the women’s facility, and she cannot do anything about him stalking her there. Voters should vote no On question 3 because this law goes too far,” Ollada said in the email message.

To see the Yes on 3 ad, click here.