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Washington GOP Pushes Anti-Trans ‘Bathroom Bill’—Again

Nicole Knight

Many of the state Republicans backing the measure sponsored a similar bill in the last legislative session.

Washington state Republicans reintroduced their failed anti-transgender “bathroom bill,” joining at least three other states in 2017 angling to force transgender people to use the bathroom that does not align with their gender identity.

The move comes as North Carolina, home to the widely-reviled anti-transgender “bathroom bill,” HB 2, has taken a nearly $400 million economic hit for its discriminatory law, after performers, companies, and sports organizations pulled business from the state. This week, the Republican governor who signed the North Carolina bill into law conceded defeat in his bid for re-election, in a race that many called a referendum on HB 2.

Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers in Texas are considering similar discriminatory measures, which could cost the state’s economy upwards of $8.5 billion and tens of thousands of jobs, according to a new study.

The legislation filed in Washington Monday by 14 Republicans would make which bathroom a person can use dependent on their genitals. The bill would allow public or private institutions to limit access to gender-segregated facilities—such as bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, and saunas—if that person, in the bill’s language, “has genitalia of a different gender from that for which the facility is segregated.”

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Many of the state Republicans backing the measure sponsored a similar bill in the last legislative session.

Democrats in Washington control the state house by a slim margin, while Republicans hold an equally narrow majority in the state senate.

A discriminatory Washington state voter initiative this year also failed to gain enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative, like the legislation in the state house, sought to undo a rule by the state Human Rights Commission permitting people to use bathrooms and other facilities that correspond to their gender identity, as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

Republican legislators in AlabamaMissouri, and Texas plan to advance similar forms of legislative discrimination against trans people next year. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick considers such a bill one of his “top legislative priorities.”

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