A new study released by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has found that there is no evidence to indicate a safety risk to women and children using the same restroom as a transgender person.
NBCnews.com reported on the UCLA study in their article “No link between trans-inclusive policies and bathroom safety, study finds.” The article references the lead author of the study, Amira Hasenbush, to information about the findings.
“Opponents of public accommodations laws that include gender identity protections often claim that the laws leave women and children vulnerable to attack in public restrooms,” said lead author Amira Hasenbush. “But this study provides evidence that these incidents are rare and unrelated to the laws.”
“The study is the first of its kind,” according to NBC News, which should allow people to see the findings as a positive outcome to the transgender bathroom heated debate.
The study is the first of its kind to rigorously test the relationship between nondiscrimination laws in public accommodations and reports of crime in public restrooms and other gender-segregated facilities.
To determine whether a relationship exists between nondiscrimination laws and crime, Hasenbush, a law and policy fellow at the Williams Institute, zeroed in on Massachusetts, where at the time of the study some localities had transgender-inclusive public accommodation laws and others did not. She and her team compared cities and towns with similar characteristics that had such laws to those that did not. They then examined police reports of assault and privacy violations in these localities both before and after the laws came into effect.
Unfortunately, some opponents of trans-inclusive policies, one, in particular, the Keep MA Safe organization, feel that the study was done in a biased manner so they discredit its findings.
As for the Williams Institute study, Yvette Ollada, a consultant for Keep MA Safe, called it “totally biased” and claimed “there was an obvious conflict of interest on the part of the researchers and publishers.” Ollada alleged the study’s researchers shared their findings with those in favor of keeping the nondiscrimination law in place before it was available to the public and denied that same early access to Keep MA Safe.
“This speaks to the bias of the researchers and publishers at UCLA, that they would withhold the study from one political campaign and share it with another,” Ollada said.
However, a spokesperson for the Williams Institute reassured NBC News that no bias existed before, during or after the study.
When asked about Ollada’s claims, Rachel Dowd, a spokesperson for the Williams Institute, said “there was no conflict of interest in this study.”
“The Williams Institute is an independent academic research institution,” she told NBC News. “We never alter the methodology or conclusions of a study to serve the interests of any outside organization.”
The NBC News article also dives into the passed trans rights protection that is now currently in jeopardy in Massachusetts as a ballot initiative “seeks to repeal the state’s 2016 nondiscrimination law, known as Senate Bill 2407, which added gender identity to existing laws prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations.” To read more about the ballot initiative click here.