Transgender Pride Flag
Transgender Pride Flag

In a vic­to­ry for LGBT civ­il rights, a dis­crim­i­na­to­ry bill that tried to roll back pro­tec­tions for trans­gen­der indi­vid­u­als has died on the floor of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate today after being defeat­ed by the nar­row­est of margins.

The mil­i­tants who con­trol the Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus, includ­ing Tim Eyman’s pals Doug Erick­sen, Michael Baum­gart­ner, Pam Roach, and Don Ben­ton, tried to push through a bill (SB 6443) that would have repealed Wash­ing­ton State Human Rights Com­mis­sion rules (cod­i­fied as WAC 162–32-060) that allow trans­gen­der peo­ple to use wash­rooms and bath­rooms con­sis­tent with the gen­der they iden­ti­fy with.

Erick­sen and Baum­gart­ner were suc­cess­ful in get­ting the bill through com­mit­tee and onto the floor, but today, they were defeat­ed when the bill came up for a vote.

Three Repub­li­cans broke away from their cau­cus to vote against the bill: Andy Hill, Steve Lit­zow, and Joe Fain, while one Demo­c­rat crossed over to vote for the bill (Jim Har­grove). That left the Repub­li­cans one vote shy of twen­ty-five, which is the thresh­old for pas­sage of leg­is­la­tion in the Sen­ate. SB 6443 is dead, and hope­ful­ly this is the last time a bill like this will even make it onto the Sen­ate floor.

The roll call vote was as follows::

SB 6443
Gen­der seg. facil­i­ty rules
Sen­ate vote on 3rd Read­ing & Final Passage

Vot­ing Yea: Sen­a­tors Angel, Bai­ley, Baum­gart­ner, Beck­er, Ben­ton, Braun, Brown, Dammeier, Dansel, Erick­sen, Har­grove, Hewitt, Hon­ey­ford, King, Milos­cia, O’Ban, Pad­den, Par­lette, Pear­son, Rivers, Roach, Schoesler, Shel­don, Warnick

Vot­ing Nay: Sen­a­tors Bil­lig, Car­lyle, Chase, Cleve­land, Con­way, Darneille, Fain, Fras­er, Frockt, Habib, Hasegawa, Hill, Hobbs, Jaya­pal, Keis­er, Liias, Lit­zow, McAu­li­ffe, McCoy, Mul­let, Nel­son, Ped­er­sen, Ranker, Rolfes, Takko

NPI thanks the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus (minus Jim Har­grove — shame on you, Sen­a­tor) and Repub­li­cans Andy Hill, Steve Lit­zow, and Joe Fain for their no votes. This bill would not have even received a vote in a Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled Sen­ate, but at least three Repub­li­cans stepped for­ward to pre­vent the Sen­ate from pass­ing this dis­grace­ful, mean-spir­it­ed, and unnec­es­sary dis­crim­i­na­to­ry legislation.

“The peo­ple of our state val­ue gen­eros­i­ty over fear, abun­dance over scarci­ty. We val­ue the whole per­son, no mat­ter who they are,” said Sen­a­tor Prami­la Jaya­pal fol­low­ing the vote. “That was proven today when Sen­ate Repub­li­can lead­er­ship brought a bill to the floor that would have rolled back the civ­il rights and basic safe­ty pro­tec­tions for trans­gen­der Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, but it failed to pass.”

“I am a par­ent, and I know what it is to fear for the safe­ty of my child. But the his­to­ry of civ­il rights has always been tied to fear. The truth is, there is no rea­son to fear trans­gen­der indi­vid­u­als — they are our daugh­ters, sons, sis­ters, broth­ers and neigh­bors. Most impor­tant, we should nev­er give in to stereo­types or mis­con­cep­tions that play on our fears and blind us to our own humanity.”

“In fact, if there is any­one who has some­thing to fear it is trans­gen­der indi­vid­u­als them­selves. Accord­ing to the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice, trans­gen­der indi­vid­u­als expe­ri­ence ‘shock­ing­ly high lev­els of sex­u­al abuse and assault’ – as high as 66 per­cent. That num­ber increas­es for cer­tain sub­groups includ­ing trans­gen­der youth and peo­ple of col­or. That means a sig­nif­i­cant major­i­ty of this pop­u­la­tion is expe­ri­enc­ing sex­u­al, phys­i­cal and oth­er forms of violence.”

“I hope in the future we bring that issue up in the Sen­ate, rather than vot­ing on ways to add to the dan­ger trans­gen­der Wash­ing­to­ni­ans already face every day,” Jaya­pal added. “I under­stand this is new ter­ri­to­ry for many of us, but the real­i­ty is these pro­tec­tions have been in prac­tice for a decade with­out incident.

“The Sen­ate took up the issue today of who we are as a state – are we a Wash­ing­ton that acts on fear, or val­ues equal­i­ty? Equal­i­ty won out. That is Washington.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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4 replies on “VICTORY! WA Senate defeats bill to roll back protections for transgender individuals”

  1. This is the most ridicu­lous thing I have ever heard of. I can­not let my wife or chil­dren go to the bath­room at Lowe’s or Home Depot or any movie the­ater nor any oth­er bath­room that allows more than one per­son in with­out a locked door. 

    It is time to fire all of the [peo­ple] that have let this hap­pen. They should all be forced out of office imme­di­ate­ly! I will join the fight to stop this now!

    This com­ment has been edit­ed by NPI.

    1. James, instead of going into a rage, you should read this very thought­ful op-ed by a par­ent of a trans­gen­der child:

      These pro­posed bath­room restric­tions make lit­tle sense. For starters, trans­gen­der peo­ple live among us and cur­rent­ly pee. They aren’t hurt­ing anyone.

      And con­sid­er that while some trans­gen­der peo­ple may appear trans­gen­der, many don’t — for exam­ple mod­els Geena Rocero or Ben Melz­er. So, when trans­gen­der peo­ple use the restroom con­sis­tent with their iden­ti­ty, peo­ple who look like women use the women’s room. But if we require gen­i­tal-based restric­tions, we would be send­ing trans­gen­der men, with beards and biceps, into the women’s restroom.

      So, if a man even­tu­al­ly does decide to assault women by being decep­tive about gen­der iden­ti­ty, gen­i­tal-based restroom laws would iron­i­cal­ly make it eas­i­er for him. If trans­gen­der women use the women’s restroom, he would have to dress up like a woman to enter. Under the pro­posed sys­tem, all he has to do is claim he’s a trans­gen­der man to walk into the women’s restroom. No dress­ing up required.

  2. These bills were intro­duced, I assume, in efforts to close the gen­i­tal loop­holes (sounds painful to me)in the decade-long antidis­crim­i­na­tion law. The leg­is­la­tors who intro­duced these bills, as well as those who vot­ed in favor of them, are over-react­ing to the point of absur­di­ty. These laws would be unen­force­able, as well as imprac­ti­cal — even to the point of vio­lat­ing every­one’s rights (not just trans­gen­der peo­ple’s). I don’t know who would be in charge of “vet­ting” every prospec­tive vis­i­tor to a restroom or lock­er room, but that per­son would have to check each of their gen­i­talia and/or, if in doubt, pro­cure a DNA sam­ple that would be sent to a lab for analy­sis (and you thought the wait was too long some­times to use the ladies room!). On the oth­er hand, it is pre­pos­ter­ous to allow just any­one in either restroom or lock­er room for what­ev­er rea­son (by gen­der iden­ti­ty or not). There needs to be a solu­tion that clos­es the loop holes while, at the same time, extend­ing rights to trans­gen­der people.

    To begin with, restrooms are dif­fer­ent from lock­er rooms, in that accom­mo­da­tion is already made for pri­va­cy in restrooms by way of the stalls. Dis­rob­ing and using a com­mu­nal show­er in a lock­er room affords lit­tle, or no pri­va­cy. Let’s put our efforts into find­ing a solu­tion for the lock­er room pri­va­cy issue, and let the restrooms be. I haven’t even been in a lock­er room for 40 years. As a trans­gen­der woman who lives with my (unfor­tu­nate) male gen­i­talia, I have no desire to have them exposed to any­one. This would be true whether I were in a men’s or wom­en’s lock­er room. Fur­ther­more, I’m not inter­est­ed in hav­ing the gen­i­talia of oth­ers exposed to me. The only thing I can think of to avoid expo­si­tion is to install some sort of screen­ing in both chang­ing rooms and show­ers, and to fur­ther require that every­one cov­er them­selves with a tow­el, at the least, in open spaces.

    Any solu­tion, in order to be non-dis­crim­i­na­to­ry, needs to be applied to all. Trans­gen­der peo­ple don’t need, and most don’t want, spe­cial accom­mo­da­tions. Let’s work on leg­is­la­tion that con­sid­ers every­one’s rights at the same time, and not that which is reac­tionary and based in fear.

  3. And now we need to defeat the stink­ing ini­tia­tive pro­posed by the reli­gious right…

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