Anchorage voters have defeated Proposition 1—the dangerous initiative that sought to repeal basic protections for our transgender neighbors, family and friends under municipal law.
With 76K+ votes in, our NO campaign is leading by 52.7%, with only 47.3% voting Yes. So while the municipality will not certify the election results until next Friday, we are confident that, at this point, it would be impossible for Prop 1 to pass.
This historic vote showed that voters in our city rejected fear and intimidation to affirm that transgender people, like everyone else, should be afforded the same dignity and respect as everyone else. Anchorage is now the first municipality in the country in recent years to uphold protections for transgender people at the ballot!
“This groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind victory could never have happened without the hard work and courage of transgender people and their families in Anchorage who shared their experiences and stories of how Prop 1 would impact them,” said Kati Ward, campaign manager of Fair Anchorage. “When we learned last year that Proposition 1 might be on the ballot, we began to create a coalition like our city has never seen before. We brought together a powerful alliance of bipartisan elected officials, businesses, faith leaders, safety advocates, women, educators, and families to send the message that Anchorage values freedom for all. This is a victory not only for transgender people, but for their allies and everyone who is proud to call Anchorage a welcoming place.”
Our fight began in earnest in July of last year, after our opponents’ signature count was determined valid, and Proposition 1 was confirmed to qualify for the ballot. Immediately, we went to work developing our campaign’s infrastructure, building the resources and staff we would need to fight against Prop 1. We built our initial war chest, and started to engage people around the community in working to defend our transgender friends and neighbors.
Throughout our campaign, we were able to consistently amplify the stories and lived experiences of transgender people. Two members of our campaign leadership Denise Sudbeck and Lillian Lennon, both shared their stories of overcoming adversity to help shepherd our campaign to success. We heard from a variety of people, from activist MoHagani Magnetek to Samuel Ohana, who was discriminated against at his job. One of our most effective messengers, high school student Col Lockard, bravely appeared in one of our television ads, telling Anchorage his fears and concerns about Prop 1 becoming law. In addition, we saw a moving piece from Andrea Redeker, a local transgender woman who canvassed in the final days to defeat Proposition 1.
To every transgender person who shared your story and spoke out against Proposition 1: This is your victory. Thank you for your courage and bravery..
This campaign also built one of the strongest coalitions our city has ever seen, with families, businesses, faith leaders, public officials, educators and safety advocates standing together to oppose Prop 1. Over 40 businesses would announce their endorsement of our campaign as we continued through the many months, joined by both the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce and the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. In March, we featured perhaps our most launched our 2nd TV ad of the campaign featuring Keeley Olsen, executive director of Standing Up Against Rape (STAR), Anchorage’s leading group providing support, resources and information for victims of sexual violence. In the ad, Olsen dispels the myth that transgender people are a safety risk, emphasizing that in the 18 states and over 200 cities where similar nondiscrimination protections are in effect, there has not been a single uptick in public safety incidents. Statewide safety agencies such as Alaska Children’s Trust would also speak out against backers of Prop 1, saying their messaging was having a negative impact on children. Most recently, over 110 bipartisan community leaders came together to oppose Prop 1 in the final days of the campaign.
“Today Anchorage voters rejected fear and intimidation to affirm that everyone in our city should have the same fundamental dignity and protection under the law,” said Lillian Lennon, field organizer for Fair Anchorage, the campaign to defeat Proposition 1. “As a transgender woman, this victory is deeply personal to me and to so many of us in the transgender community. It means voters saw past misleading tactics by opponents of transgender equality in order to treat people like me fairly. In a world that can be so hostile to transgender people in our daily lives, to know that the city of Anchorage has our backs means everything. I’m grateful to the voters, volunteers and hard-working supporters of our campaign who worked tirelessly to make this night possible.”
Fair Anchorage is beyond grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who worked with us making calls, knocking doors, and showing up to public events. We also thank the myriad of businesses, public officials, community leaders, and the regular citizens of Anchorage who were willing to use their voices to speak out against discrimination — a particular thank you to the transgender community, who were so willing to share their stories and experiences with the public, and who actively participated in defending municipal protections. We could not have done any of this without everyone’s help.
So many people can rest easier because our nondiscrimination law has been defended, and it is the combined efforts of many that made this possible. Let us never forget what a determined group of people can do to protect one another and stand up for what is right.