I-1515 Would End Policies Protecting Rights of Transgender Students; Washington Must Not Discriminate
We believe in an inclusive society where every person’s human rights and dignity are respected, where communities appreciate each other’s differences and stand together for justice and equality, and where each of us has the opportunity to thrive.
If passed I-1515 would end anti-discrimination policies protecting the rights of transgender students, create a private right of legal action against schools and other entities who would allow transgender students to use facilities consistent with their gender identification, and would put federal funding for Washington’s schools at risk.
We oppose I-1515 for the following reasons:
America is and must be a haven for transgender immigrants from across the world. Policies that discriminate against transgender youth and adults run counter to America’s role as a haven for transgender individuals seeking safety from violence, persecution, and oppression in other nations. According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there are approximately 267,000 LGBTQ undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and between 15,000 and 50,000 of them are transgender. Yet even in America, these community members, because of their immigration status and transgender identity, experience greater risk of violence and discrimination in employment, housing, health care, when seeking services and even in their own homes. We stand in solidarity with transgender individuals fighting discrimination and violence within immigration detention facilities in Washington and beyond. Our current immigration laws, together with pervasive discrimination against transgender people, force transgender immigrants to live in dual shadows.
We welcome transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. Biological and scientific evidence, as well as cultural norms across societies, demonstrate that gender identity need not fit into a male-female binary. Truly respecting each other’s inherent human dignity and rights means working to accommodate the diverse biological and gender identities of all members of our communities, and rejecting violence or bullying targeting transgender individuals. Today, 75 percent of transgender youth feel unsafe at their schools. Only last year, organizations cited an alarming increase in the rate of violence, including murder, targeting transgender individuals, particularly from communities of color. Policies like I-1515 shift focus away from necessary actions our communities, schools and governments must take to ensure that every person can feel welcome and thrive.
We oppose discrimination in all its forms, and we join with hundreds of organizations and leaders from across Washington State opposing I-1515 through the Washington Won’t Discriminate campaign (www.washingtonwontdiscriminate.org).