Transgender rights ad shot in Maine to air during RNC tonight

An ad shot in Maine depicting discrimination and harassment faced by transgender people in accessing public restrooms will debut on FOX News tonight, the final night of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Several actors in the ad are Mainers and the filming took place in Maine, according to a Facebook post by Portland Models and Talent. The location appears to be Cavu Café in Auburn.

The star of the 60-second ad is Alaina Kupec, a transgender woman from North Carolina, where HB2 passed earlier this year. The law makes it illegal for transgender people to use restrooms in public buildings that match the gender they live on a daily basis.

According to the Bangor Daily News, one of the women who are depicted as coming to Kupec’s defense when she faces harassment is actress Jenny Anastasoff of Portland.

“These few frames will probably be the biggest thing I ever act in, so it’s quite humbling, to be in the first nationally broadcast transgender civil rights ad,” said Anastasoff on the experience.

The ad, which will also air on MSNBC during the Democratic National Convention next week, is sponsored by an array of national LGBT rights groups through a campaign they’re calling FairnessUSA.

“Around the country, LGBT Americans continue to fall victim to attacks and discrimination, in our lives and at every level of government. That is especially true for transgender Americans, who are being singled out and targeted by legislators for exclusion from public places and facilities,” said Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans Education Fund and himself a resident of York, Maine. “Transgender equality is about human dignity and respect for all people. No one should be banned from something as basic as using the restroom. We hope this ad helps educate the millions of Americans watching the conventions and anyone who has not yet had an opportunity to meet and get to know a transgender person.”

Even before its television debut, the ad has made quite a splash, with significant press coverage and more than two million views during its first week online.

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