Alaskans Vote Against Bill Requiring Transgender People to Use Public Bathrooms Matching the Gender on Their Birth Certificate

Transgender man Lillian Lennon working the phone banks at Fair Anchorage to get Anchorage voters to vote “no” on Proposition 1.
Courtesy of Fair Anchorage

Nearly 53 percent of voters in Anchorage, Alaska cast their ballots in opposition to a proposition that would have required transgender people to use public facilities that match the sex on their birth certificates.

The historic April 3 election, conducted primarily through mail-in-ballots, was the first time U.S. citizens directly voted on a so-called transgender “bathroom bill.”

“Anchorage voters refused to succumb to hate and bigotry by rejecting this discriminatory, anti-transgender ballot measure. Community leaders, businesses, faith leaders, and public officials all spoke out in support of equality,” Chad Griffin, president of national LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement sent to NBC News.

The unofficial results, which will be certified on April 17, came as a relief to Anchorage transgender activist Lillian Lennon.

“If Proposition 1 were to pass, I would fear that I could be blocked from using the restroom that I identify with,” Lennon, 19, told NBC News. “I would be forced to go into a men’s restroom where I wouldn’t feel safe or protected, and I definitely don’t think that anyone in that restroom would feel particularly comfortable with me there either.”

The ballot initiative also would have reversed portions of Anchorage’s 2015 LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinance and would have allowed employers in the city to dictate which accommodations trans people can use. It was one of an estimated 129 anti-LGBTQ measures introduced in 2017, according to the Human Rights Campaign (12 of these measures become law as of January, according HRC).

Lennon was a field organizer for No on Prop 1, a major grassroots effort led by the LGBTQ activist group Fair Anchorage that encouraged residents to vote against the proposition. The activist recalled receiving her own ballot in the mail.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Julie Compton