A rule approved by the state Human Rights Commission guarantees access to restrooms, locker rooms and other such facilities according to a person’s gender identity. The bill in Olympia seeks to undo some of that access.
OLYMPIA — The head of a state House committee said no hearing will be held on a bill that rejects a new state rule guaranteeing access to restrooms, locker rooms and other such facilities according to a person’s gender identity.
House Bill 2589 asserts that the new regulation from the state Human Rights Commission goes too far. The state commission has said the rule, which took effect in December, clarifies a 2006 state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The regulation has generated an uproar, with many transgender people saying they feel most comfortable using the restroom or locker room of the gender with which they identify. There have also been complaints that others will feel uneasy sharing a locker room with a man or woman who hasn’t surgically transitioned.
Transgender people are estimated to be less than 1 percent of the population.
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The bill is sponsored by Rep. Graham Hunt, R-Orting, and 36 other state lawmakers. It says that nothing in Washington state civil-rights law prohibits a private or public place from limiting transgender people’s access to restrooms and other such facilities when someone is “preoperative, nonoperative” or doesn’t have the genitals of the gender for which the facility is set aside.
House Judiciary Chairwoman, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said Wednesday a hearing is not being scheduled.
“There’s a plethora of reasons, but I would say repealing someone’s right to not be discriminated against is not a priority for me,” Jinkins said. “I don’t think it’s a priority for the committee, or a priority for the state of Washington.”