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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 29, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 05
Hearing on Washington state anti-Trans bill SB 6443: A first-hand account
Section One
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Hearing on Washington state anti-Trans bill SB 6443: A first-hand account

by Brianna Schuman - Special to the SGN

It's pretty clear that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be Transgender among our opponents. Transgender people do not one day 'decide' to live as themselves because they 'feel like' another gender. Gender Identity is closely held by every human on the planet, and Transgender people live their lives every day as the gender we know ourselves to be. Transgender women are women. Transgender men are men.

Speaking of Transgender men... I heard audible gasps of confusion from our opponents when Transgender men such as Aidan Key testified. I think it's the first time many of them had ever actually seen a Transgender man before. This debate has been focused around 'men in women's bathrooms,' but has completely ignored the fact that Transgender men would also be highly affected by these bills.

It's also very clear that the public is very under-educated about how protected classes work in anti-discrimination laws. In order to be protected by the law, you must be a member of that class IN FACT. This is why we can say that the argument that the rule/law will allow men to pretend to be Transgender and be protected under the law is not true. They would not be members of the Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation class, which would not entitle them to be protected under the law. Our opponents are invested in saying this will allow random men to claim to be women and be protected by the rules, which is simply not true. These WACs [Washington Administrative Codes] ONLY protect Transgender people under the law, not predators.

Our lawmakers are woefully inept at following what the various WAC rulemaking bodies like the HRC [Human Rights Commission] are doing. There has been a lot of complaining that they 'weren't notified' of the HRC's rulemaking directly. The HRC followed the law in implementing these laws. It is the LAWMAKER'S responsibility to keep tabs on these notices and rules coming up. They are obviously woefully ill equipped to do their jobs.

Our opponents seem to also be under the false impression that these rules are new and unique to Washington state; that we are the first to implement them. That is simply incorrect. 17 states and 200 localities have anti-discrimination laws on the books, which protect Gender Identity in a similar fashion. Gender Identity in Public Accommodation has been protected since 2006 under the RCW [Revised Code of Washington]. Public accommodation has always included locker rooms and bathrooms. This is not new; it merely codified specifics in order to ensure that the law is practiced uniformly across the state.

Overall, I would say this hearing showed me that we have a lot of education to do in the general public about Transgender issues.

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