Friday was the deadline for collecting signatures for Washington state ballot Initiative 1515, an anti-trans bathroom initiative introduced by Just Want Privacy Campaign. Much like North Carolina’s HB2, the proposed initiative would ban transgender people from restrooms that match their gender identity, but it also would have allowed students to sue schools if they saw transgender students in the bathroom not belonging to their assigned gender.
Having failed to collect even two-thirds of the 300,000 signatures for which they were aiming, Just Want Privacy cancelled their appointment to deliver their petitions to the Secretary of State leading to yet another victory in a state that is firmly planted at the top nearly all equality guides.
Washington state was an early adopter of transgender rights, including gender identity in its housing, school, and anti-bullying laws back in 2006; as well, 92% of its hospitals now include transgender people in their patient bills of rights.
This development comes on the heals of a victory for LGBT residents in Massachusetts when Governor Charlie Baker signed new legislation that will allow anyone in the state to use bathrooms or locker rooms that match their gender identity, and empowers authorities to make sure that no one does so fraudulently. This victory is thanks, in part, to the National Equality Action Team (theNEAT) and their phone banking campaign which helped place thousands of calls from supporters of the Transgender community. “The volunteers at NEAT were a critical piece in making sure the politicians in Massachusetts heard the overwhelming voice of the people to pass this bill. I am so proud to work with each of them.”, said Brian Silva, Director of theNEAT after hearing the news of victory in Massachusetts.
Governor Charlie Baker released this statement:
“This … legislation extends additional protections to the commonwealth’s transgender community, and includes language to address the public safety concerns expressed by some by requiring the attorney general to issue regulations to protect against people abusing the law.”
Opponents of the legislation in MA and supporters of the initiative in WA say that male sexual predators might pretend to be trans women in order to enter a woman’s bathroom or locker room even though there doesn’t seem to be a single case on the books to suggest this has been an issue ever.
Great reporting Jeff!
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