‘Free and Fair Montana’ Launches to Stave Off Dangerous Anti-Transgender Ballot Initiative

By Shane Stahl • April 17, 2018 • 10:06 am

Today, April 17 we’re cheering on the launch of Free and Fair Montana, the campaign to defeat a dangerous new effort to force anti-transgender discrimination onto the ballot in Montana. The ballot initiative, I-183, is eerily similar to Proposition 1 in Anchorage and would enshrine discrimination against transgender people into state law.

Free and Fair Montana, the campaign to defend transgender Montanans, is comprised of people from all corners of the state who are actively taking a stand against discrimination and speaking against the proposed ballot measure known as I-183. The official campaign launch took place this afternoon, April 17, at Billings Public Library.

The outrageous measure would make work, school, and recreation unsafe for transgender Montanans

Free and Fair Montana explains:

The Montana Family Foundation, a nefarious anti LGBTQ hate group based in Montana, is attempting to change Montana law to permit discrimination against transgender people via a ballot initiative called I-183. I-183 would force people to use public accommodations like restrooms and locker rooms that align with the gender on their original birth certificate instead of the gender by which they live and identify. I-183 would 1) make work, school, and recreation unsafe for transgender Montanans; 2) put local government and state agencies at risk of expensive, unnecessary lawsuits; and 3) fail to further protect anyone from assault or rape, as these things are already illegal in Montana. I-183 would also jeopardize your privacy by forcing you to prove your gender to anyone who requests to see your paperwork before you enter a public facility.”

This is a direct assault on privacy and safety for transgender people. Everyone believes these values should be respected, including transgender people. In the 18 states and over 200 cities with transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, there has been no uptick in public safety incidents; in fact, studies show that when comprehensive protections are not in place, it is transgender people themselves at higher risk for intimidation, harassment, and violence.

At its core, I-183 is an attack on transgender and non-binary Montanans; it would prevent transgender and non-binary Montanans from participating in certain aspects of public life in communities across the state. Like other laws and ballot measures that have been proposed in various states and localities, I-183 is meant to capitalize on the fears and uncertainties of voters and punish Montana’s transgender community.

To learn more about the campaign, visit their website here, become a fan on Facebook here, and follow along on Twitter here. And to keep up to date with the latest news on nondiscrimination in Montana, visit our state page here.

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