The Greater Seattle Business Association is a founding member of this coalition.
For Immediate Release – JANUARY 12, 2016
WA SAFE Alliance Formed to Defend Anti-Discrimination Protections for Transgender People
Opponents seek to eliminate rights for transgender people that they have been afforded since 2006
OLYMPIA, WA – Today, the Washington Safety & Access for Everyone (SAFE) Alliance is launching a statewide campaign to preserve Washington State anti-discrimination laws and to safeguard existing protections for transgender people. The WA SAFE Alliance will fight to ensure that the integrity of Washington’s anti-discrimination laws and regulations are preserved while increasing public awareness and understanding about transgender people.
The Washington State Legislature passed a 2006 law protecting transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, credit, lending, insurance, and in places of public accommodation. Public accommodations include facilities such as stores, hospitals, public parks, busses, restaurants, public restrooms, or any other facility that the public is welcome to enjoy. For the last ten years, transgender people in Washington have been able to use facilities, including restrooms and locker rooms, that match the gender they live as on a daily basis.
Since 2012, the Washington State Human Rights Commission held a lengthy public process of drafting and issuing rules to provide clarity and guidance for the public on how to follow the Washington Law Against Discrimination’s (WLAD) protections on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. These rules do not change the already existing law in the state of Washington.
Washington State—as well as many other states and localities across the country—illustrates that anti-discrimination laws and policies can be successfully implemented while upholding the safety of everyone. It’s reassuring to know that 17 states and more than 200 cities across the U.S.—including places like Nevada, Colorado, Anchorage, and Boise—have already passed these kinds of laws, with no increase in public safety incidents.
“Transgender people rely on these anti-discrimination protections to ensure that we can fairly seek jobs, buy a home, visit doctors, and yes, use the restroom free from discrimination. Bills that seek to erode the fundamental Washington values of fairness and freedom have no place in our Legislature,” expresses Danni Askini, Executive Director of Gender Justice League.
Tylene Carnell, an Ellensburg resident said, “As a transgender woman, mental health professional, and community leader, this issue is very important to me. Transgender people live and visit all areas of our state, rural and urban. It is critical that we maintain basic public accommodation protections for transgender people so that we can continue to move freely about society - at work, school, and while shopping, dining, and accessing services.”
WA SAFE Alliance is comprised of organizations and individuals across Washington State, including transgender and LGBT groups, civil rights organizations, business organizations, women’s rights advocates, domestic violence organizations, youth centers, and faith groups.
To learn more about the Washington SAFE Alliance, visit www.wasafealliance.org.
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