Washington State GOP lawmakers introduce anti-transgender bathroom bill

Washington state capitol in Olympia. LGBTQ Nation

The Washington State House pre-filed a bill Monday that would limit transgender people’s access to public restrooms and other gender-segregated facilities.

Discrimination based on gender identity has been illegal in Washington for since 2006. But when the state solidified that law’s public access protections last December, lawmakers pushed back with an effort to repeal it by putting the issue on the ballot. That effort was narrowly rejected in February.

“HB1011 is another abhorrent attack on transgender Washingtonians,” Washington Won’t Discriminate wrote in a message to supporters. “If passed, it would write discrimination into state law by prohibiting transgender people from using the restroom consistent with who they are—just like North Carolina‘s disastrous HB2.”

The new bill would amend Washington’s civil rights protections to block transgender people from using the facilities that correspond to their gender unless they have had genital surgery:

Nothing in this chapter prohibits a public or private entity from limiting access to a private facility segregated by gender, such as a bathroom, restroom, toilet, shower, locker room, or sauna, to a person if the person is preoperative, nonoperative, or otherwise has 10 genitalia of a different gender from that for which the facility is segregated.

Nothing in this chapter grants any right to a person to access a private facility segregated by gender, such as a bathroom, restroom, toilet, shower, locker room, or sauna, of a public or private entity if the person is preoperative, nonoperative, or otherwise has genitalia of a different gender from that for which the facility is segregated.

Washington Won’t Discriminate (WWD) said it expects HB 1011 to move through the legislature similarly to last year’s bill, which was rejected by the Senate in a 25-24 vote.

The group added that passing such a law could put Washington at risk of the kind of boycotts faced by North Carolina thanks to its anti-transgender bill HB2.

“Perhaps most disturbing is how much HB 1011 looks like North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which actually bans transgender people from using public restrooms and undermines the ability of local municipalities to set their own policies,” WWD wrote. “HB 2 is considered to be the most extreme anti-LGBT law in the nation, and as such has plunged North Carolina into a sea of negative national attention and dire economic consequences.”

Such a law would also go against the state’s progressive history as one of the first to enact marriage equality via a voter initiative and to ensure LGBTQ civil rights protections.

“Our reputation as an inclusive, welcoming state is still strong—but that reputation could take a major blow if opponents of transgender equality make headway next year,” the group wrote.

The bill was introduced by Republican representatives David Taylor, Matt Shea, Bob McCaslin, Jesse Young, Brad Klippert, Jim Walsh, Larry Haler, Shelly Short, Matt Manweller, Mark Hargrove, Liz Pike, Jeff Holy, Jay Rodne, and Vincent Buys.

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