When a man assaulted Kelly Herron in a public Seattle bathroom, she made it clear she was not to be messed with. “Not today …” she yelled as she fought off her attacker at Golden Gardens.
It’s a sentiment she is now turning on a political organization — the Yes on I-1552 campaign that is using her face to promote a political agenda she vehemently opposes.
“I’m done being polite. I’m done being politically correct,” Herron told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.”Because what they are doing is not correct. What that man did to me, was to me. It was him and me. We fought it out. There is no question about the wrongness of it … now my face is being used to raise money for discrimination … It’s bull.”
Herron was just beginning to heal from the trauma of the attack waged by a homeless man and level 3 sex offender when her face showed up on the news.
“I’ve been pretty even keeled throughout this recovery time,” Herron said. “I haven’t really cried very much or been angry. Then I opened up this link to a newsletter that went out for the bill, the Yes on I-1552. And it’s got my bloodied face on the cover of this newsletter, and on their Facebook page, using my violent sexual assault to promote an initiative that discriminates against transgender people. What?!”
“I was actually doing pretty well with my mental state, and then I see this and I am so outraged,” Herron said. “I have transgender friends. I work with transgender people. They are people. They identify differently and I don’t care where they use the bathroom. When I see a transgender person in the bathroom, we talk about lip gloss.”
Yet, if you ask Yes on I-1552, they see things quite differently. Kaeley Triller Haver with the I-1552 campaign argues that the bill has nothing to do with transgender people.
“It’s incorrect in the sense that our campaign is anti-transgender,” Triller Haver told Dori Monson. “We are for women’s safety.”
Triller Haver was apologetic and did not know Herron would react in the way she did. But Triller Haver promotes that Herron’s experience aligns with their cause.
“We used her story along with a couple other stories to highlight the importance of protecting women in their most vulnerable places,” she said. “Her story is the story of hundreds, if not thousands, of women across the country who have had similar incidents happen. And we are having our protections stripped from us.”
That concern was initially raised when it was discovered that the Washington’s Human Rights Commission implemented a rule which allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom that matched their identity. The Yes on I-1552 campaign, according to Triller Haver, doesn’t see a line between the transgender issue and Herron’s experience.
“The reality remains that a grown man marched into a women’s bathroom in broad daylight in the middle of a busy park and nobody stopped him,” Triller Haver said.
“I hope by the time November comes around, maybe we can have created some clarity about what we are trying to accomplish,” she said. “Our campaign exists to protect women so they don’t have to experience what she did.”
To be clear, despite Triller Haver’s assertion that transgender issues have nothing to do with her cause, there’s good reason people keep claiming it does. That could be because I-1552 specifically targets gender and bathroom use. It clearly states that bathrooms will be divided by “men” and “women” in Washington. It further attempts to establish a legal understanding of those genders “based upon the person’s sex or gender as determined or that existed biologically or genetically at the time of a person’s birth.” So yes, the bill does affect transgender bathroom use.
That’s something Herron does not support. And she objects to her traumatic experience being used for, what she feels, is a discriminatory campaign.
“This is a sick, transient, level 3 sex-offender hiding in a bathroom stall in a beach bathroom, waiting to rape the next person who uses a hand dryer,” Herron said. “I had to fight for my life. Then I see this newsletter saying this is why we shouldn’t let transgender people use the bathroom. Guess what, he didn’t read the sign that says ‘women.’ He did it anyway. It’s equally illegal if he were a female and hiding in the bathroom and coming out to assault me. Now my face is being used to promote discrimination. This is outrageous. One issue has nothing to do with the other.”