Joseph O: A lot of people view Washington as the battleground for 2017.
Speaker 2: If we are not going to have equality for everybody, we do not have equality at all.
Toni Vercillo: As it stands now, males can use female restrooms, and it's wrong.
Rochelle Hill: We're not monsters. We're not freaks.
Kaeley H: We have to draw a line. If we don't do it now, it will be something else. It will be something worse.
Rochelle Hill: All we want to do is go to the bathroom.
Seth Kirby: The rights of those people who are most vulnerable is potentially up for a vote this November.
Kaeley H: How much is your privacy worth?
Joseph O: The state conversations that happen in Washington, as well as other states, might be the most important place for conversations about transgender bathroom protections, other protections too. On one side of the debate, you have the group called Just Want Privacy, which is spearheading the campaign to
get I-1552 on the ballot. There's a group that's opposing this initiative called Washington Won't Discriminate, and that's made up of people from the TGBT community, a lot of progressive politicians, and a lot of large businesses.
Kaeley H: There's a lot of misconceptions about what Just Want Privacy is. We are a political campaign. We exist for the sole purpose of working to repeal our state's open bathroom and locker room rule.
Most of us fully believe that everybody deserves to be free of discrimination in things like employment and housing. That wasn't an issue for us. In December of 2015, our state's human rights commission decided to impose this new rule on the entire state that opened basically every bathroom, locker room, changing room on the basis of gender identity versus anatomy. We have this new rule that says anything goes. Any male who decides to walk into your bathroom can declare his right to be there, and there's nothing that you can do to prove that he's lying. That felt so regressive and so offensive, to tell women that they don't have any, there's no kind of objective criteria.
Seth Kirby: Washington Won't Discriminate was started last year, in 2016, to keep our existing non-discrimination protections in place. Initiative 1552, if it passed would prohibit transgender people from using the facilities that match who they are. It really silences people and makes people scared to come out or to share their story.
Speaker 7: I think that looks good.
Rochelle Hill: Think about an open ticket for people to discriminate against trans people.
Thanks for being my fashion advisor.
Speaker 7: You're welcome.
Rochelle Hill: To be forced to use the opposite sex bathroom or changing facility or anything else is incredibly demoralizing.
Joseph O: You have President Donald Trump coming in here, and he rolled back some Obama era protections against transgender students for using bathrooms and locker rooms. You can expect for the next four or eight years, under a Republican president, we're not likely to see rules or policies intended to protect transgender people.
Toni Vercillo: Men can walk in to any women's bathroom at any time of the day or night, regardless of who's in there, and use it. Nobody can say boo. If we do, then we're the ones that are bigoted. I just want to keep naked men from showering with my nine-year-old granddaughter.
Speaker 8: At the Y.
Toni Vercillo: Does that make sense?
Christine Gilge: So I would like the law to be where it was before, which is men use men, women use women. It's a confusion of not just gender identity, but who are they. Are they human beings? I don't know.
Speaker 10: What do you mean by that?
Christine Gilge: I'm saying that they're confused. They don't even know if they're a human being, because human beings are created in an image of God, and they're created either male or female.
Rochelle Hill: There's trans people everywhere. That's what we need to let them know is that we're in all walks of life, and that we're not going to stand by and let our rights go by the wayside.
This 1552, it affects every one of us in a very different way for each one of us individually. That's what leads me to want to advocate now, is that there's a need. There's a definite need, so I thank you all for being here, and we will decline to sign. Thank you.
Kaeley H: It isn't about hating anybody. I don't agree with their life, the way they see the world, but that doesn't mean they don't have a right to live that way. They do.We do know that there will still be transgender women in our bathrooms. We know that. Because that's not the issue. The issue is poorly written policy that strips rights and actually compromises safety.
It's so counterintuitive. All this work we did to train girls, "Trust your instincts." We have to ignore all those and normalize the presence of males in our spaces. We're expected to just be okay that that person with a beard who looks like a lumberjack walking in there can say that he's female and that's okay, I guess he is. No. I think that's reasonable to push back, and if it does set precedent, then
that's great, I think.z
Seth Kirby: There are, I think, 17 states that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. If we lose here in Washington, we could lose anywhere in the country.
Kaeley H: We're trying to restore what was lost, and then create an even platform, and invite people to the table, and then we can have a discussion about best ways to proceed.
Joseph O: If I-1552 does get on the ballot and it does get approved by voters, that has some pretty big implications, because if that can happen in a state like Washington, that's a good indicator that voters across the country would be willing to roll back or curb some kind of protections against transgender students in bathrooms and locker rooms.