It is transgender people who are most vulnerable in public places

The Williams Institute study finding no correlation between crimes committed in bathrooms and civil rights protections for transgender people confirms what we already know (“Bias law no threat to safety, study says,” Page A1, Sept. 12). It is transgender people who are most vulnerable to attack in public spaces.

A 2013 survey of transgender people in Massachusetts found that 65 percent had experienced discrimination in public spaces, including bathrooms. This high rate of discrimination correlated with poorer mental and physical health. A similar survey of transgender people in Washington, D.C., found that 70 percent had experienced harassment and abuse when trying to access public restrooms.


The arguments of those in favor of rescinding the state’s 2016 civil rights law protecting transgender people in public places, such as train stations, restaurants, and bathrooms, are not based on facts. Instead, anti-transgender activists twist facts so that victims of discrimination are portrayed as aggressors. Imagine what we could accomplish if the money that will be spent on Question 3 were instead directed to public safety efforts based on best practice and policy.

Tim Wang

Health policy analyst

The Fenway Institute


The writer is coauthor of a 2015 policy brief by Fenway Health and the Center for American Progress on how state anti-transgender bills threaten transgender people’s health.