Anchorage, Alaska – July 20, 2017 – Supporters of a proposed bathroom-monitoring initiative turned in the required signatures for inclusion of the fear-based initiative on the April 2018 Anchorage municipal ballot. In sum, the bathroom-monitoring initiative would allow businesses open to the public to discriminate against Alaskans based solely on appearance.
“The group that started this initiative dislikes the LGBTQ community plain and simple and wants people to be afraid of LGBTQ people,” said Elias Rojas, board president of Alaskans Together for Equality (ATE). “This initiative is part of a larger, national strategy to roll-back LGBTQ rights. Not only is the bathroom-monitoring initiative a response to a non-issue, it is a gross violation of every Alaskans’ privacy. This ill-conceived initiative is an attempt to demonize the LGBTQ Alaskans and will cause big problems for every Alaskan, especially business owners, in the real world.”
The initiative does not just target transgender Alaskans. If the proposed initiative became law, the significant government overreach would have many unintended consequences and would invade the privacy of all Alaskans. It would also set a precedent, allowing businesses open to the public to arbitrarily discriminate against people, and potentially have that discrimination enshrined into law.
Here are some common sense questions Alaskans should ask about this initiative: Should the initiative become law, how will enforcement of bathroom monitoring be conducted? Who will be watching and how? Will Anchorage taxpayer dollars fund the enforcement of bathroom police? Will Anchorage taxpayer funds be used to settle the inevitable lawsuits resulting from likely civil liberties violations of the initiative? Will Anchorage police be taken off their beats to stand outside of restrooms and monitor users?
Anchorage is one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in America. In the real world, everyone has to use the bathroom. It is a basic human need, and Alaskans Together for Equality believes no one should have to show paperwork to do that. Alaskans Together for Equality is Alaska’s largest member-based statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization. We are a nonpartisan, civil rights organization whose mission is to advance civil equality for all Alaskans through grassroots organizing and advocacy, with a primary focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Alaskans.