(This article is from our Community Update. Click here to see the entire Update.)
For the last several months, Washington state has seen a host of anti-transgender legislation and lots of negative public attention opposing our current anti-discrimination laws that allow people to use a public facilities that match their gender identity. (This means areas such as shelters, locker rooms, and yes, bathrooms.) There were 6 heinous bills that would have undermined the current anti-discrimination law. A few came close to passing. As of now, none are moving forward thanks to the coordinated actions of a statewide coalition of trans* rights groups (including Stonewall!). However, a ballot initiative seems likely. Opponents of the anti-discrimination laws regarding gender identity have already filed several proposals for ballot measures, and will soon be gathering signatures. We’ll need to continue to actively and fiercely protect our current anti-discrimination laws. Let’s keep ourselves and each other safe during this season of intensified anti-trans* hate!
As an LGBTQQIA-serving organization, it was a unanimous decision to stand up for trans* rights. Two senate hearings were held at which Masa, one of our Co-Directors, brought written testimony to the hearing from community members, including youth from Stonewall, who were unable to attend. We are working with a coalition of groups to develop several other strategies to oppose the anti-trans* legislation. All the actions ramped up to the February 15th protest at which Stonewall Youth joined forces with 250-300 trans-rights activists at the Capitol.
Masa and several other community members spoke at the protest. Most notably, three of our very own youth spoke to the crowd of hundreds. On the same day, we got to visit Senator Bob Hasegawa and Senator Pramila Jayapal’s offices to let them know we appreciate their opposing stances on the anti-trans* bills. Youth shared stories and perspectives on how such bills could affect them and other youth. Visibility is a difficult thing for the LGBTQQIA community, so it was no small feat to speak that day!
Stonewall Youth is partnering with several other organizations and individuals in the creation of a Thurston County chapter of the WA SAFE Alliance to help stop the spread of these hate-based bills. For more information, go to WA SAFE Alliance