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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 13, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 15
April defeat of Anchorage anti-Transgender Prop. 1
Section One
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April defeat of Anchorage anti-Transgender Prop. 1

'Overwhelmed with joy' says Lillian Lennon, Anchorage activist

by Tim Peter - SGN Contributing Writer

On April 3, voters in Anchorage, Alaska, overwhelmingly rejected by a vote of 53.7 per cent to 47.3 per cent, an attempt by the religious right to prevent Transgender people from using the restrooms and locker rooms based on their own gender perceptions.

This fight began after Anchorage City Council passed a broad non-discrimination ordinance in 2015, which protected LGBT people. In January 2016, Alaska Family Council created a ballot initiative for the City of Anchorage hoping to overturn protections for Transgender people. The campaign, entitled Yes on One - Protect Our Privacy, wanted voters to believe that allowing people to use the restrooms of their own choosing would be harmful to the public, particularly children. The reality is that there are very few, if any, reports of LGBT persons doing anything against others in public facilities; meanwhile many LGBT people have been attacked, beaten and murdered simply because of who they are and whom they love.

'Our opponents thought it was not about Transgender people when in fact it was a direct attack against us,' said Lillian Lennon, Field Organizer for Fair Anchorage, the organization opposing Prop 1. 'A lot of our work had to do with voter outreach and educating about this important issue. We made sure to stay visible. Before the campaign, many people in Anchorage and Alaska didn't know Transgender people. We were able to change that, to show the horrible effects that it would have on the community.'

'I was nervous about winning,' she added, 'yet very confident in what we were doing. No matter the outcome, we'd done something big. We organized the community of Transgender people, their families and business leaders. When I heard the preliminary results on election night, I was overwhelmed with joy! The Anchorage community came together to make this happen.'

Lennon added that this was a coalition effort with help from many sponsors, big and small. Some of those sponsors included Human Rights Campaign, ACLU of Alaska, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI), Alaska Airlines. The campaign also relied on support from Identity, Inc., the LGBT community support center in Anchorage. Fair Anchorage out spent Prop. 1 supporters $800,000 to $123,000, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

'We all came together to fight for equality in Alaska,' Lennon said. 'Of course, it was local to the Anchorage community, yet it will having lasting effects throughout the state of Alaska and across the United States.'

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