Dueling rallies in Olympia over transgender public restroom access

Public restroom file photo via MyNorthwest

As a new state rule allows transgender people to use bathrooms respective to the gender in which they identify -- more than 200 people are taking to the capitol to rally on Monday.

But not everyone is on the same side.

A KIRO 7 News photographer found about 125 protesters demonstrating against the bill at the same time as a counter-protest across the lawn with another 125 demonstrators.
Urged by lawmakers who said the Legislature must protect civil rights, the full Washington Senate narrowly rejected a bill last week that would have repealed a new state rule allowing transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public consistent with their gender identity.
Sen. Doug Ericksen, a Republican from Ferndale who sponsored the measure, argued during debate on the floor that the rule, created by the state's Human Rights Commission, leaves business owners unable to stop men posing as transgender people to sexually assault women in locker rooms.

Many Democrats defended the state rule, which went into effect on Dec. 26. Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Kirkland, said there is no civil right protecting people from being uncomfortable, but there is "a civil right to be included."

The worry that people might abuse the commission's rule is unfounded, said Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle.

"There have been no sex offenders that have been posing as transgender people to get into bathrooms," she said.

In the House, efforts to repeal the rule have not succeeded. House Bill 2782, which would ban people from entering gender-segregated bathrooms that don't align with their male or female "anatomy," or "DNA," as defined by the bill, won't receive a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, which is led by Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma.