Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Victory in Washington State! Anti-Trans Bill Defeated
After weeks of tireless advocacy, transgender Washingtonians have won a major victory in the state legislature. Senate Bill 6443, legislation that would have repealed a regulation protecting trans people’s right to use the restrooms that match their gender, was defeated on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
Discrimination against transgender people has been illegal under state law in Washington since 2006. The Human Rights Commission’s regulations, released in late December, implemented existing law by clarifying what schools, businesses and employers needed to do to comply with it. The Commission explained, for example, that harassing someone based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, giving LGBT employees fewer benefits, or denying people access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity were violations of the law. This regulation brought Washington in line with numerous other states and agencies across the federal government, who have all made it clear that nondiscrimination laws require trans people to have the same access to restrooms and other single-sex facilities as other people of their gender.
But this well-tested, commonsense guidance was met with a backlash by anti-trans extremists, prompting state legislators to push bills that would overturn the regulation. The Washington SAFE Alliance, a trans-led coalition of social justice leaders, came together to fight these attacks on trans Washingtonians—and secured a major victory by defeating SB 6443, the biggest anti-trans threat in the state legislature.
SB 6443 was one of six anti-trans bills introduced in theWashington legislature just within the past few weeks—and every one of them is expected to meet the same fate and be defeated. Almost three dozen anti-trans bills have emerged all over the country, and beating them sometimes feels like an uphill task. But today’s vote in Washington was a huge triumph and—coming at the heels of another big win in Virginia—it reminds us that we are winning.
NCTE is proud to be part of the Washington SAFE Alliance and stand with Washington advocates in this fight. We supported Washington advocates in their efforts to get the gender identity regulations adopted last year, and in their defense of the trans community throughout this legislative session.
The fight is not over in many states. Go to our Action Center to help defeat the remaining bills in other states.