It has been a month since the Human Rights Commission announced its ruling on the open use of public restrooms by transgenders. Ruth Johnson reports that lawmakers in Olympia, besieged by public complaint, will discuss legislation Wednesday.

Johnson said that Senate Bill 6443 would repeal the Human Rights Commission decision that has caused so much controversy. At the capitol, many lawmakers say the concern is less about transgenders’ use of public restrooms, and more about protecting all people across Washington from those who might exploit the ruling to commit crimes. And Republican House member Shelly Short says the commission was out of order in how it made the ruling. “Any kind of rule making, no matter how sensitive the topic is, you have to give a transparent process for everybody to participate in. I would say the Human Rights Commission did a disservice to the transgender community.”

Johnson added that Short says the controversy over how the ruling was made–without proper procedures, put many transgender people in a spotlight they may not have been prepared for or wanted.



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — An overflowing Senate hearing room heard heartfelt testimony over a bill that would eliminate Washington’s new rule allowing transgender people to use gender-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms in public buildings consistent with their gender identity.

Many argued against the policy created by the state’s Human Rights Commission which took effect on Dec. 26, testifying Wednesday that people might abuse the rule to sexually assault women. The bill to reverse the rule, Senate Bill 6443, is sponsored by a group of Republicans. Others testified that eliminating the commission’s policy would enable discrimination against transgender people.

Sharon Ortiz, the commission’s director, previously said the shift was only a clarification of the state’s existing anti-discrimination law. She said transgender rights are already protected under an addition to the 2006 Washington Law Against Discrimination.