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Anti-transgender initiative fails in Washington State

A group opposed to Washington's transgender bathroom and locker room rule announced on Friday that it did not have enough signatures to make the November ballot.

The group, Just Want Privacy, failed to meet Friday's deadline of collecting 259,622 valid signatures to get its proposed Initiative 1552 on the ballot. This is the second year the group has failed to qualify its initiative.

Implementation in 2015 of the state regulation that allows transgender people to use the bathroom and locker room of their choice was praised as a civil rights landmark by transgender rights groups. Opponents vowed to repeal it, claiming that it allows sexual predators to enter women's restrooms.

Just Want Privacy said Friday that it had collected 240,000 signatures.

"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," the group said in a statement.

Washington Won't Discriminate, which ran a campaign urging Washington residents to "Decline to Sign" the anti-transgender petition, claimed victory.

"We all care about safety and privacy, but people understand that repealing protections from discrimination for transgender people won't make anyone safer," said Seth Kirby, chair of Washington Won't Discriminate, in a statement. "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."

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called Just Want Privacy's failure "a victory for equality and validation for Washington's non-discrimination laws that ensure fair and equal treatment for LGBTQ people in housing, employment and public accommodations."
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