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I-1552
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Why I-1552 failed to get enough signatures … again

Some businesses have opted to simply have all-gender bathrooms, such as this Seattle bar. (Dyer Oxley, MyNorthwest)

For the second year in a row, Just Want Privacy failed to garner enough signatures to get I-1552 on the ballot. Despite more time and funding, the same arguments still don’t hold up.

I-1552 aimed to define bathroom use in a way that would ban transgender people from using the facility that aligns with their identity. But the campaign didn’t gather the required 259,622 signatures. Just Want Privacy’s last reported figure on July 5 was 206,004 signatures (slightly more than the 181,278 signatures it received in 2016).

RELATED: Assault victim rebukes Just Want Privacy’s use of her experience for its cause

Shortly before the July 7 deadline, I-1552 proponents canceled their appointment to turn in their signatures to the Secretary of State. Just Want Privacy’s website was quickly reduced to a single landing page.

I-1552: A failed argument

Just Want Privacy aimed to alter anti-discrimination rules in Washington; rules that have to do with transgender bathroom use. The group claimed it wanted to protect people from predators.

But the two issues have nothing to do with each other. Perhaps that stretch in logic – if you can remotely relate logic to Just Want Privacy’s argument – is why the effort failed.

Supporters said that if predators were caught in a bathroom of the opposite gender, they could claim they were transgender and all would be forgiven by authorities. It’s fit for a Hollywood script ripe with paranoia.

To make its argument, Just Want Privacy spread articles about men preying on females; men covertly filming in changing rooms; two men who beat a woman in public with a bat; and various peeping Toms. However, those stories were often taken out of context. For example, Just Want Privacy posted a story about an assault in Seattle, it was quickly rebuked by the victim of the incident.

“I’m done being polite. I’m done being politically correct,” Kelly 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.”

So what did Just Want Privacy argue in the end? Examples in which being transgender has nothing to do with crime, sometimes not even bathrooms. It attempted to provoke emotions of fear and disgust, then tack “transgender” onto that emotion.

There is an argument that could be made through all the articles Just Want Privacy used — sexual assault and voyeurism are already illegal. Predators do not need an excuse to carry out their crimes. They are already in bathrooms. That is the problem. The solution is not targeting a minute segment of the population (less than 1 percent depending on which estimates you go by).

This was really about discrimination

Proponents of I-1552 stated that the initiative had nothing to do with transgender individuals, rather, women’s safety. Perhaps they neglected to read their own initiative. Because I-1552 only targeted the transgender community – not predators.

Initiative 1552 aimed to set up a couple strict rules:

  • Bathrooms will be separated by male and female, and separate facilities will be provided for people with other privacy needs (transgender people).
  • “Male” and “female” will be only defined by what is biologically and genetically determined at birth.

So they essentially wanted a separate-but-equal policy. The one issue they did not address was safety.

I’m straight and cis-gender. Regulations around transgender rights do not affect me. I make no claim to be able to speak for the transgender community. Yet, I’m a Washington resident; one that Just Want Privacy would have liked to have sign their petition. But even from my level of disconnect, I could understand I-1552 for what it was – discrimination.

This column is the opinion of Dyer Oxley and does not represent that of MyNorthwest or KIRO Radio.

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