Our Community is One—Regardless of Statelines

As I write this, Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery is leading an effort to repeal portions of Anchorage’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance.

This is a highly discriminatory, anti-trans measure that will effectively strip transgender and gender diverse people of their rights and protections to live free from discrimination.

Proposition 1 employs anti-transgender rhetoric to alienate and demonize the transgender community. It will legalize discrimination and harassment in bathrooms, schools, workplaces, and more. It would also allow people to demand to check a person’s “sex at birth” as it pertains to bathroom use—potentially requiring people to carry their original birth certificates, or comply with genital checks each time they want to use public accommodations. And finally, Prop 1 would redefine sex in municipal code as, “an individual’s immutable biological condition of being male or female, as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at the time of birth.”

If Proposition 1 passes in Anchorage, it would set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the nation. Not only will it repeal the city’s existing trans-inclusive nondiscrimination protections, it will erase transgender people from existence entirely under city law. Anti-transgender extremists are using Anchorage as their lab rat: If they can pass Proposition 1 here on Tuesday April 3rd, they’ll export this same shameful strategy to cities and states across the country.

This initiative is potentially devastating, but it is nothing we haven’t seen before. Together, we fought back similar attempts in Washington two years in a row, and we can do the same thing again in Anchorage.

Through TRANSform Washington, a public education project at Pride Foundation, we have been working to increase public understanding of transgender people’s experience and celebrate the dignity, diversity, and humanity of transgender and gender diverse people. This work remains critical and will continue to enhance the lives of our transgender and gender diverse neighbors, family and friends, regardless of state lines.

Jeremiah Allen and Isyss Honnen, TRANSform Washington staff, along with Seth Kirby, Chair of Washington Won’t Discriminate, recently traveled to Anchorage to support the ongoing efforts of Fair Anchorage to defeat this harmful measure.

“Opponents of equality have proven to be the same across states. It is our opportunity and responsibility to share knowledge and lessons learned, and support our friends in Alaska,” Jeremiah shared.

Now, it’s your turn. Anchorage needs all of us to show up, and here’s how you can stand up against discrimination:

  • If you live in Anchorage: vote. Ballots will be dropping in mailboxes in 15 days, so please vote NO on Prop 1 and encourage your friends and family members to do the same.
  • No matter where you live:
    • Sign up to phone bank from home
    • Learn more and share information about Prop 1 on social media
    • Donate to Fair Anchorage, the bipartisan coalition working to defeat Proposition 1 and defend Anchorage’s non-discrimination laws protecting our transgender neighbors, family and friends.

You can make a difference in the lives of transgender and gender diverse people in Anchorage. Every vote, phone call, post, and dollar matters.

Josh Hemsath is Pride Foundation’s Regional Philanthropy Officer in Alaska. Email Josh.

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