Safety Experts Across Anchorage Agree: Dignity for Transgender People Doesn’t Threaten Public Safety

By March 14, 2018Blog Post

Our opponents seeking to pass Proposition 1 this April have consistently made the claim that protecting transgender people under municipal law is a threat to public safety. However, we know this couldn’t be further from the truth; transgender people are the ones who are put most at risk by having dangerous initiatives like Prop 1 in place, as it opens them up to more potential harassment, intimidation, and violence.

That’s why this week, our campaign, released the latest in a series of ads underscoring the need to keep Anchorage’s protections for transgender people on the books. The featured ambassador in this ad is Keeley Olson, the executive director of Standing Together Against Rape (STAR), Anchorage’s leading group working to combat sexual violence.

Olson continues to make the case we’ve already seen put forth strongly, stating: “ensuring dignity for transgender people is not a threat to public safety.”

Olson’s ad is only the latest in a series of statements from safety and children’s advocates across Anchorage debunking the central myths behind Proposition 1.

Late last year, Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll testified before the Anchorage Assembly—underscoring that in the two years since Anchorage’s non-discrimination laws have been on the books, there has been no uptick in public safety incidents, and that public safety incidents in bathrooms and locker rooms “is not something the Anchorage Police Department is especially concerned about.” The chief also went on to state that if passed, Proposition 1 could not be enforced—and that his department could and would not check IDs of Anchorage residents in public restrooms.

In addition, the Superintendent of Anchorage Schools, Dr. Deena Bishop, has gone on record questioning the need for Prop 1, saying that the current protections in place for transgender people have worked fine for the past 2 years, and clarifying that Prop 1 could not be enforced in Anchorage’s schools. Prop 1, if passed, would repeal fundamental protections for transgender students in our city’s public schools.

In a statement, Bishop said, in part:

“The enforcement of this policy is not possible. We will not stand guard at our restroom doors. So as we move forward and learn what this brings to us, we are keeping student safety in mind. There is nothing in the budget that moves forward anyone to play the role of law enforcement in the restroom.”

Recently, three statewide advocacy groups have also come out against Prop 1 — Alaska Children’s Trust, Alaska Children’s Alliance, and the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault issued a joint statement that warned the divisive rhetoric used by supporters of Prop 1 is having a harmful effect on Alaska’s children.

“Statistics show where someone chooses to use the restroom has no bearing on a child’s safety. By spreading sensational ads, these groups may actually put our children at greater risk,” the groups offered.

These experts on safety and security have spoken loud and clear: ensuring dignity for transgender people in Anchorage does not pose a risk to public safety. We know already that in the 18 states and 200 cities where comprehensive nondiscrimination protections are law, there has been no uptick in public safety incidents. Having protections in place allows our transgender friends and neighbors to know they are safe and protected by allowing them to use the facilities that correspond to the gender they live every day.

Soon, Anchorage voters will have their ballots in hand in our municipality’s first-ever vote-by-mail election. Vote No on Prop 1, and make sure your ballot is postmarked by April 3, or placed in a ballot dropbox by 8:00 PM on that date. Visit our Election Center for more details, and visit our Video page to view all of our ads making the case why Anchorage needs to Vote No on Prop 1.