Amid Discussion of Statewide Anti-Transgender Ballot Initiative, Seattle Mayor Strengthens Local Protections

By Adam Polaski • March 11, 2016 • 2:07 pm

This week, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed an executive order ensuring that the city of Seattle has the policies and procedures in place necessary to create a fully “fair, inclusive, and safe” place for transgender Washingtonians.


The order strengthens fully LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination protections in Washington that have been in place since June 2006, ensuring it’s crystal clear that in the city of Seattle, people are respected for their gender identity – it’s that simple. The decision, which affirms the reality that transgender women are women and transgender men are men, will take leaps forward in ensuring that transgender individuals are not harassed because of who they are.

Mayor Murray’s order comes on the heels of a nasty legislative session in Washington, where the Washington Legislature narrowly rejected a bill that would have rolled back existing protections and codified discrimination against transgender people in Washington. And just last week, opponents of LGBT people filed paperwork for a radical, terrible anti-transgender ballot initiative. Murray said his statement:

“We once again have folks down in Olympia, and in DC, and in other cities like Houston, trying to take us back to the cultural wars of the past. This is a city that has moved on and this is a city that has led the nation before.”

Earlier this year, opponents of equality behind the ballot initiative – which seeks to repeal the Washington Human Rights Commission’s clarification that the state’s public accommodation rules protect gender identity – took dramatic action to push their discriminatory agenda. In a stunning revelation, leading groups supporting this ballot initiative actively encouraged men to break state law in protest by entering and disrobing in women’s locker rooms. Following these online statements, this actually took place in a Seattle rec center Monday evening. Endorsing any criminal activity in support of discrimination is a tremendously troubling escalation of a policy dispute.

Learn more about LGBT non-discrimination in Washington.

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