Petitions were due yesterday afternoon to qualify initiatives to be on the ballot for the November election.
The anti-transgender group, Just Want Privacy, had been gathering signatures for proposed initiative 1552. But they needed 260,000 valid signatures to reverse a 2015 state regulation guaranteeing access to restrooms and locker rooms according to the gender a person lives with rather the sex assigned at birth. They say they came up 20,000 signatures short.
The state of Washington has said that the rule, issued by the state Human Rights Commission, did not introduce a new right but rather clarified a 2006 law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Just Want Privacy claims they came up just a bit short.
We exceeded last year’s total by over 20,000 signatures, and we know that so many more people throughout the state would be willing to sign if given the chance, but the truth is that we simply couldn’t reach them in time.
We will not stop working to reverse this dangerous rule and restore the safety and privacy of women and girls in Washington. Whether that means trying again next year or working with the Legislature in the upcoming session will be determined in the near future.
--Kaeley Triller Haver, Just Want Privacy
It really starts to make clear that the tide is turning and that people understand that transgender folks like myself and others who are transgender deserve the same basic protection as everybody else to use public facilities with privacy, safety and dignity
--Seth Kitby, Washington Won't Discriminate
The state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has required K-12 schools to let students use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity since 2012.
The Just Want Privacy campaign maintained its measure was not aimed at hurting transgender people. They said the bathroom rules allow men posing as transgender to legally enter bathrooms to assault or harass women or children.
Opponents say harassment and assault are already illegal and strictly punished, and contend there have been few reported problems with the rules since they took effect.
Supporters of the HRC rule say allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity protects them from harassment and health problems.
We all care about safety and privacy, but people understand that repealing protections from discrimination for transgender people won’t make anyone safer. It’s already a felony to assault or harass someone in public facilities, and no one should have to prove their gender to self-appointed bathroom cops.