The right-wing backlash against Washington's updated human rights code, which now explicitly protects the right of transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, is in full swing. Yesterday, the State Senate's Commerce and Labor committee passed a bill repealing the new section of the code on a party-line vote, despite testimony from the transgender community that to do so would make them less safe.
This morning, Mayor Ed Murray and all nine members of the Seattle City Council came out strongly against the bill's counterpart in the State House: HB 2589. "To live and work safely in Seattle and in Washington state," they said, "transgender and gender nonconforming people need to be able to use public accommodations, such as restrooms, just like everyone else, without fear of harassment or discrimination."
You can read the full letter, which is addressed to Seattle's state legislative delegation, here. And keep mind that Laurie Jinkins, the openly gay Democratic representative from Tacoma who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has pledged not to give HB 2589 a hearing, meaning it should be going nowhere.
In a separate statement this morning, State Senator Pramila Jayapal, who represents South Seattle, pointed out that transgender people "experience 'shockingly high levels of sexual abuse and assault,' according to the U.S. Department of Justice... And what the bill [to repeal the Human Rights Commission rule] really questions is not safety, but equality. This was settled long ago—separate is not equal... Laws must be made based on facts, not fear."
UPDATE: I'm told Council Member Lisa Herbold organized the letter, at the request of the Pride Foundation's Gunner Scott.