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Letter: Offer dignity for transgender people

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Published: May 21, 2016, 6:00am

In his May 16 letter, “Protect bathroom dignity,” Bruce R. Randall urges women to speak up against laws protecting the rights of transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. As a woman and mom of three daughters, I am speaking up in support of protecting the rights of our transgender neighbors.

Claims that these legal protections will lead to an epidemic of sexual assault and victimization are scare tactics. There is no evidence that transgender individuals are predatory, or that sexual assailants dress as females to gain access to targets. Attempts to spread fear and moral panic without foundation do not reflect my values, and do nothing to address the actual root causes of rape, child abuse, and sexual assault.

For this reason, the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs and the Washington Coalition Against Domestic Violence both oppose I-1515, an initiative which would repeal protections against discrimination against transgender individuals. Andrea Piper-Wentland, executive director of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, is unequivocal about attempts to use sexual assault fears to discriminate against people because of their gender identity, and is quoted as saying: “Discriminating against transgender people does nothing to reduce the risk of sexual assault.”

Transgender people visit the bathroom for the same reason we all do — to use it. As a woman, I am comfortable offering them privacy, dignity, and respect.

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