Our allies at Alaska Family Action celebrated a huge success recently by gathering enough signatures to put a “bathroom-privacy” initiative on the 2018 ballot. The measure—originally named the Protecting Our Privacy Initiative—would protect the dignity, safety and privacy of women and girls in showers, restrooms and locker rooms by requiring intimate spaces to be segregated by biological sex as determined at birth rather than how individuals “identify.”
Supporters of the Protect Our Privacy initiative gathered close to 8,500 signatures — thousands more than the number required to certify a place on the 2018 ballot.
The ballot measure aims to blunt one of the many dangerous effects of a so-called nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the city of Anchorage almost two years ago that included “gender identity” as a protected class. The ordinance allows boys and men who identify as transgender to use women’s restrooms and other facilities designated only for females.
“That’s obviously a huge privacy and safety issue for women and girls,” said Jim Minnery, executive director of Alaska Family Action, one of Family Policy Alliance’s state-based allies. “Everyone is made in the image of God and should be respected and loved but not everyone should have access to any intimate space they want because of how they feel. It’s common sense.”
The Human Rights Campaign says there are more than 100 cities in the U.S. that have similar “public accommodation” ordinances that allow men who identify as transgender to use women’s bathrooms. That means privacy measures to protect women and girls—like the one championed by Alaska Family Action—are needed now more than ever.
Minnery said despite facing marked opposition from transgender-activists who threatened and harassed their signature gatherers, the effort enjoyed a large and ethnically-diverse coalition of support from people and churches across Anchorage.
If passed, the privacy initiative would protect against, for example, a boy using the girls’ locker room at a sporting event. Don’t think that could happen? Check out this Ask Me First video about how Alaska girls already were forced to compete against a young man who says he identifies as female in the 2016 girls state track competition.
Voters will have a chance to approve the privacy measure in April 2018. Congratulations to Jim and the entire Alaska Family Action team!
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.”