Alaska Legislature Votes Against Transgender Commissioner

May 23

The Alaska Legislature has voted not to confirm Drew Phoenix, a woman who identifies as a man, to the state Human Rights Commission.

Phoenix, who has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, created a conundrum for many lawmakers who worried the appointment would lead to a conflict of interest.

“When you’re an advocate, you’re pushing for a policy call,” said Sen. John Coghill. “When you’re within that commission, you’re looking out for people more evenhandedly. And I couldn’t get the comfort level that that would be the case in the Human Rights Commission with Drew.”

Alaska Family Action, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 state-based allies, had worked to raise awareness of the appointment and urged its constituents to contact their lawmakers to voice their opposition.

“The Legislature has done the right thing,” said Jim Minnery, president of Alaska Family Action, “by telling Gov. Walker to find someone who has the qualities of objectivity and impartiality that will inspire confidence among all Alaskans.”