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Initiative to Require Discrimination Against Trans Public School Students Returns for More Signatures

The initaitive, which failed last year, would also allow discrimination at private businesses.

Last year, a campaign calling itself “Just Want Privacy” tried to gather enough voter signatures to put I-1515 on the state ballot. They failed.

Now, they’re back. Around 11 a.m. Monday morning, a petition was filed with the Washington Secretary of State’s office. It calls itself “The Promoting and Protecting Privacy and Safety in Women, Men, and Student Restroom Facilities Act.” Despite superficial edits, the PPPSWMSRFA is substantially identical to I-1515. It would require discrimination against transgender students at public schools and allow discrimination at privately-owned businesses.

Like its predecessor, the PPPSWMSRFA would require public schools to force transgender students—whom initiative euphemistically calls “Certain Students”—to use the wrong bathrooms and locker rooms. There is one exception: students who both get their parents’ blessing and “consistently assert to school officials that their gender identity is different from their birth sex or gender” will be put into “alternative facilities” such as a “single-use restroom,” but only if those seperate facilities are available. Schools that don’t enforce this policy will become liable in civil court for between $2,500 and $5,000, plus attorney’s fees and “monetary damages for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm or injuries suffered by the aggreived student.”

Also like its predecessor, the PPPSWMSRFA would carve a hole into Washington’s decade-old anti-discrimination law (sponsored by then-state senator Ed Murray) to allow other entities to discriminate against trans people. The PPPSWMSRFA reads in part, “Nothing in this chapter prohibits a public or private entity from designating private facilities…for the exclusive use by females or males only…For the purposes of this act, if and whenever used, the terms ‘female,’ ‘male,’ ‘woman,’ women,’ ‘man,’ ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘sex,’ and ‘gender,’ shall mean and be based upon the person’s sex or gender as determined or tht existed biologically or genetically at the time of a person’s birth.”

Proponents of the PPPSWMSRFA frame their initiative as a measure to protect women from male sexual predators, and have long denied that the act has anything to do with transgender people.