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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 22, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 04
Labor Council urges state unions to oppose the anti-Trans 'Bathroom Bill'
Section One
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Labor Council urges state unions to oppose the anti-Trans 'Bathroom Bill'

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Martin Luther King County Labor Council (MLKCLC) unanimously passed a resolution at its January 20 delegates meeting urging state unions to oppose HB 2589, also known as the 'Bathroom Bill.'

The measure would allow anyone who provides public 'gender-segregated facilities' like restrooms or locker rooms to make genitalia - rather than gender identity - the criterion for allowing people to enter.

In other words, it would allow schools, public offices, and businesses to prevent many Transgender people from using appropriate restrooms.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Rep. Graham Hunt of Orting, with 36 Republican co-sponsors.

Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) President Jeff Johnson was in Olympia lobbying on other legislation when SGN called for comment, but his office said the MLKCLC resolution would be forwarded to him and other union lobbyists.

The WSLC, like MLKCLC locally, was one of the leading champions of the state's law against discrimination (RCW 49.60), which guarantees Trans residents 'the right to the full enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of any place of public resort, accommodation, assemblage, or amusement.'

Federal laws - Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - are now also held to protect Trans people, under the prohibition against discrimination on account of sex.

The Labor Council resolution was written by Pride At Work, an LGBT labor organization affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

HB 2589 is also opposed by the Washington SAFE (Safety and Access For Everyone) Alliance, a coalition of LGBT, civil rights, and labor groups.

Washington SAFE includes SEIU 775, UAW 4121, the Gender Justice League, the Pride Foundation, Legal Voice, Gay City, GSBA, the LGBTQ Allyship, the Northwest Network, PFLAG Washington, the Pierce County AIDS Foundation, Lambda Legal, the EWU Pride Center, Gender Diversity, Spokane TALL, Tacoma Tmen, Oasis Youth Center, the Queer Black Alliance of the South Sound, Social Outreach Seattle, the Spokane Human Rights Commission, the Tacoma Rainbow Center, Immanuel Presbyterian Church, the ACLU, the Capitol Hill Community Council, and the Washington State Community Action Partnership (WSCAP).

Unfortunately, HB 2589 is not unique. The Equality Federation, an alliance of some 40 state-based LGBT rights groups, including Equal Rights Washington (ERW), says it is 'already tracking dozens of terrible, anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation, with more added daily.'

'Few states will be spared,' the Federation warns.

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