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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 19, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 08
Notorious bigot launches anti-Trans campaign

Joseph Backholm was mastermind of R-74
Section One
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Notorious bigot launches anti-Trans campaign

Joseph Backholm was mastermind of R-74

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Having failed to pass SB 6443, the so-called 'bathroom bill,' enemies of the state's Transgender community are threatening to launch an initiative campaign to block Trans people from using restrooms appropriate to their gender identity.

SB 6443 would have repealed a recent ruling by the Washington State Human Rights Commission (HRC) that Transgender individuals can use public restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. The measure would also have barred the Human Rights Commission from making any future rules about restrooms or locker rooms.

The measure failed in a 25-24 Senate vote on February 10, but right-wing forces refused to take no for an answer.

An organization calling itself 'Just Want Privacy' says it is gathering resources to wage a statewide initiative to repeal the HRC rules.

'We'll file an initiative as soon as we raise $100,000 and identify 1,000 volunteers to collect signatures,' the group says on its website.

Just Want Privacy head Joseph Backholm will be familiar to SGN readers as the man who personally filed Referendum 74 to repeal marriage equality in 2012 and led the effort to get the anti-Gay measure on the ballot.

After filing the referendum, Backholm initiated the back-room negotiations among feuding anti-Gay groups that eventually resulted in forming Preserve Marriage Washington, with himself as statewide chairman.

Backholm is also executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, the local affiliate of Focus on the Family, an anti-Gay hate group founded by James Dobson.

Trans rights activists responded to his latest initiative with anger and determination to beat the attack.

'We have given our opposition the facts, the science, and the laws that support fair treatment for Transgender people. We have introduced them to ourselves, our families, and our loving allies. We have time and again shown there is nothing to fear from Transgender people. And still there is talk of an initiative?' Ingersoll Gender Center founder Marsha Botzer said.

'This would be initiative as an act of aggression, a call to the worst imaginings, fearful fantasies, and willful misunderstandings. And all this heaped upon a frightened and vulnerable Transgender population. What politics, what faith, what group would support this destruction of neighbors?'

Gender Justice League executive director Danni Askini noted, 'Our opponents registered this website on December 30,' well before SB 6443 was even filed, 'demonstrating that this has been a coordinated campaign against Transgender people.'

Askini added, 'We believe we have strong public support and are in a powerful position to fight back any attempt to repeal the rights of Transgender people in Washington state.'

Other groups already on record supporting Washington's Transgender community are Equal Rights Washington, the Washington State Labor Council, the Martin Luther King County Labor Council, and the SAFE Alliance, a coalition of 130 LGBT and human rights organizations.

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Notorious bigot launches anti-Trans campaign

Joseph Backholm was mastermind of R-74

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