A brief overview of Washington’s “bathroom” bills
In 2006, the state legislature expanded the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (WLAD — RCW 49.60) to protect transgender people.
Then nothing happened for a while.
Now, I say nothing, but there were minor incidents — Evergreen State College famously stood behind a transgender student against some kids who tried to slander her (after being somewhere they weren’t allowed anyway). I think some gym was briefly in the news after changing their policy to conform.
Anyway, in 2015 the YMCA of Pierce County (others were already quietly compliant) made the news and I honestly don’t remember whether they faced legal action or not but they did sit down with ACLU-WA to define a new policy regarding transgender patrons in compliance with RCW 49.60.
Before I go on, there are some things you need to know and may not if you’re not from around here.
RCW is the Revised Code of Washington. WAC is the Washington Administrative Code. RCW is law; WAC is elaborations on certain laws (stuff like health and fire codes), as agencies are empowered by the legislature. This has been law since 2006, but it was not spelled out in this level of detail (although it was clear from common law) until recently.
So now it’s 2016. Unfortunately for us trans folks, 2016 is an election year. You should also know, if you’re not familiar with American politics, that ever since the Southern Strategy Republicans mostly come in three flavors: megalomaniac, fascist, and useful idiot. In fairness, many politicians are megalomaniacs, but stick with me.
Within the first month of 2016, four bills have been introduced by Republicans in the Washington State legislature targeting trans rights. None of these can pass; they’re crass politicking at best, but you can see how it resonates with the lately-ascendant fascist sect of the party.
The first to be proposed was HB 2589, or “the one about genitals”. This has most of the Republican caucus signed on as co-sponsors. It does what you’d expect from what I call it, and it’s made Representative Graham Hunt (R-Orting) the fuckin’ poster boy for this shit.
The second was HB 2782, or “the one about DNA, because science is for liberals”. It actually uses the phrase “male deoxyribonucleic acid”. I rest my case.
Then there’s SB 5443, or “what even is this shit you fucking piece of shit”. It doesn’t actually do anything to the law — it strikes the language from the WAC (remember, WAC doesn’t create law) and then restricts the Washington Human Rights Commission from fulfilling their legal responsibility. This one has a hearing scheduled.
Finally, just today as of this writing (Tuesday the 26th), there’s SB 6548 which is literally just a Senate version of HB2589.
These bills can’t pass, and even if they could Governor Inslee would never sign them. Hell, I’d honestly expect the state Supreme Court to strike them down, they’re pretty on top of shit. Killed that latest Eyman vomit just last week.
But the bills don’t matter. They’re politicking, the megalomaniacs know the fascists will love it and the useful idiots haven’t applied any thought to the question but Reverend Fuckface told them gays are sinners and you know, kids and all that, and men can’t be trusted.
This politicking will probably go on. The election isn’t until November, and why would a party built on bad faith give a shit about anything else? I’m sure when these die in committee we’ll see a fucking initiative and well I imagine we’ll all find out what the penalty for stealing signature sheets is.
Meanwhile it’s going on everywhere else too because who better to unite the Republican party than a megalomaniacal fascist?
Our long national nightmare has finally begun.
Okay, not really. We’ve already won, we won ten years ago. But fucking reactionaries insist on zombifying the goddamn horse so we’ve gotta keep beating it until it stays down. At least it’s a Romero zombie, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less bad when it tries to bite you.