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Anchorage Firefighters’ Union Officially Announces Opposition to Prop 1

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In a letter to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News, the Anchorage Firefighters Union Local 1264 officially announced their opposition to Prop 1, an attempt to repeal existing nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in our city.

Mike Stumbaugh, union president, made clear that Proposition 1 would be nothing more than government-sanctioned discrimination.

“Proposition 1 would force government-mandated discrimination on the citizens of Anchorage. Based on the long record of discrimination, we know that it would lead to more bullying, assaults and other violence. Why? Because discriminatory proposals like Proposition 1 send the clear and odious message that it is OK to target one group of Alaskans for persecution.”

Stumbaugh also addressed the myth that Prop 1 is a public safety issue, noting that previous testimony from Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll indicated that in the two years nondiscrimination protections have been in place, there has been no uptick in public safety incidents.

“While backers of Prop. 1 claim they’re advocating for public safety, nothing could be further from the truth. In the 200-plus cities and 18 states with laws nearly identical to Anchorage’s non-discrimination law, the results have been the same: Protecting transgender people is not a threat to public safety — here in Anchorage or anywhere else in the country.”

Other safety advocates have also come out in opposition to Prop 1; most notably, Keeley Olson, the executive director of Standing Up Against Rape, Anchorage’s leading group providing assistance and support to victims of sexual violence.

Stumbaugh also pointed out in his letter the damaging effect passing Prop 1 would have on students in Anchorage’s schools. Anchorage school Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop has already gone on record as saying the ballot measure is unnecessary and unenforceable. Organizations such as the Alaska Children’s Trust have previously warned that the harmful messaging being disseminated by our opponents is already having a negative impact on children.

“If Proposition 1 passes, it would also repeal protections for transgender students in Anchorage schools — encouraging bullying and harassment against our most vulnerable young people. We should never send the message that discrimination or violence is acceptable against any group of people. Far from making restrooms safer, Prop. 1 would put students and other Alaskans at risk of discrimination and assault.”

Fair Anchorage thanks the Firefighters Union and President Stambaugh for their support, and for stating what we’ve known all along: Prop 1 is unnecessary, and nothing more than a license to discriminate against transgender people.

35 Anchorage Faith Leaders Join Chorus of Voices in Opposition to Prop 1

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Today, 35 prominent faith leaders in Anchorage came together to announce their opposition to Prop 1, which would remove nondiscrimination protections for transgender people from Anchorage law.

“As Christians, we believe that all people are made in the image of God,” said Rev. Ellen Johnson-Price, pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church. “Therefore all people are worthy of dignity and respect, and any law which discriminates against one category of people – treating them as ‘others’ rather than equals – goes against our faith. Proposition 1 does exactly that by singling out transgender people as those who are different and less deserving of equal treatment. That’s why I am voting ‘no’ on this divisive and harmful proposition.”

The group of leaders is comprised of a variety of faiths and denominations. Speakers at the event included Rabbi Michael Oblath of Congregation Beth Shalom; Pastor Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope; and Pastor Martin Eldred, Joy Lutheran Church.

“Proposition One is an affront to the Christian faith that many of us have committed our lives to,” said Rev. Michael Burke, Sr. Pastor of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. “Rather than loving one’s neighbor, and treating them with dignity and respect, Prop 1 sows the seeds of mistrust, fear, and division I believe that we are better than this.”

The signed statement reads as follows:

Our faith is a reflection of the love, kindness, and welcome we have received from our Creator. Those fundamental truths extend to all people and all of creation. We find strength and hope for our community in offering hospitality and grace to everyone we meet. And as faith leaders, we are called to take a stand for those who are most marginalized.

We’re proud that Anchorage law extends commonsense non-discrimination protections to everyone. We strongly oppose Proposition 1 – and any attempt to harm the transgender people who call Anchorage home.

Each of us is made in the image of God and deserves compassion – and equal treatment under the law. We call on our fellow clergy – and all people of faith in Anchorage – to join us in voting No on Proposition 1.

Fair Anchorage is proud of these faith leaders, who stand with our campaign in making sure the transgender people of Anchorage are afforded their dignity by being protected by the city’s nondiscrimination law. To view all the faith leaders who have joined our No on Prop 1 coalition, click here.

Today’s event is just the latest iteration of faith opposition to Prop 1. Last month, our campaign released an ad featuring faith leaders speaking out against Prop 1 and saying clearly: “Everyone should have the same protections under Anchorage law.”  And just this week, three faith leaders published an op-ed decrying Prop 1.

These faith voices join many others in standing up against Prop 1. Last week, key members of Anchorage’s business community decried Prop 1 as a threat to Anchorage’s economy and growing business environment. Previously, women of Anchorage have stated it is not appropriate to discriminate or harm transgender people in the name of women; additionally, an ad featuring David Lockard and his transgender son, Col spoke to the potential devastating impact Prop 1 would have on their family. Similarly, both Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll and Anchorage City Schools Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop have made it clear that our existing municipal non-discrimination law poses no threat to public safety—and that Proposition 1 could not be enforced.

For the first time ever, the people of Anchorage will vote by mail in a municipal election. Ballots were mailed on March 13, and must be returned by Election Day, postmarked by April 3rd or dropped at ballot return boxes by 8:00pm. Visit our Election Center to learn all the specifics of how and when to vote.

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

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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.

NEW AD: Anchorage Safety Advocate Dispels Myths Behind Proposition 1

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Today, our campaign’s latest television ad hits the airwaves featuring Keeley Olson, the executive director of Standing Up Against Rape (STAR), the leading organization in Anchorage working to prevent sexual violence.

Founded in 1976, STAR is a 24-hour crisis intervention agency that offers intervention, education, and advocacy services to victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse, as well as their families and communities.

While sexual violence is indeed an issue in Anchorage, Keeley debunks the fear-mongering behind Proposition 1 to state clearly: “Ensuring dignity for transgender people is not a threat to public safety.”

Just one day after backers of Prop 1 launched a shameful ad filled with lies about who transgender people are, Olson makes clear that the  myths perpetrated by our opposition is simply untrue. In the two years since Anchorage has ensured basic protections for transgender people, there has been zero uptick in public safety incidents.

The same is true in the 200+ other cities and 18 states with similar laws: We can protect transgender people without putting women and children at risk. Despite what our opponents claim, Proposition 1 isn’t about protecting public safety—it’s about singling out our transgender neighbors, family and friends for discrimination.

Keeley’s ad joins our first paid television ad currently in rotation, which features David Lockard and his transgender son, Col. In their ad, both David and Col speak about the importance of nondiscrimination protections, and how Prop 1 would harm Col and every transgender person who calls Anchorage home.

Watch Keeley’s ad, share it on social media, and then be sure to keep an eye out for your ballot, which is now in the mail and should be received by this Thursday, March 15th!. Visit our Election Center to learn everything about the upcoming vote-by-mail election.

Children’s & Domestic Violence Victims Advocates Warn: Prop 1 Rhetoric Harms Anchorage’s Children

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Three influential non-profit groups in Alaska have recently spoken out against what they view as dangerous political messaging by supporters of Proposition 1 that could have a damaging effect on children, particularly when it comes to issues of discrimination and the culture of fear it creates.

The Alaska Children’s Trust, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and The Alaska Children’s Alliance issued a press release on March 8 warning that rhetoric used by backers of the initiative aiming to repeal basic protections for transgender people under Anchorage law is  harming the safety and well-being of Alaska’s children.

One of the main points the groups made sure to emphasize was the myth of transgender people as sexual predators. The release states in part:

“Statistics show where someone chooses to use the restroom has no bearing on a child’s safety. What we do know is that 90% of children know their perpetrator. That means these abusers are trusted friends, family, teachers, coaches and religious leaders. By spreading sensational ads, these groups may actually put our children at greater risk. Our goal is to empower parents with accurate information, and help them identify potential risks and develop the skill set they need to alleviate the dangers. Alaska has one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the nation, and should have a zero-tolerance policy for information that is not based in truth or is not arming families with steps for prevention.”

Ensuring basic protections for transgender people in no way threatens public safety. In the 18 states and 200 cities that have passed nondiscrimination protections—including Anchorage—there has been no uptick in public safety concerns. Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll underscored this point last year when speaking before the Anchorage Assembly—saying clearly that his department is not aware of any incidents arising from Anchorage’s non-discrimination law.

Anchorage School District Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop struck a similar chord when she addressed Prop 1, making it clear that t protections have worked well for the past two years in the school district and that if passed, Prop 1 could not be enforced in Anchorage schools:

“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.”

Proposition 1 won’t make Anchorage safer—and the experts agree. And as Anchorage voters receive their ballots next week, we’re confident that they, too, will affirm that Proposition 1 is unnecessary and harmful.

For the first time, Anchorage’s Municipal Election is 100% vote-by-mail. Ballots will be mailed on March 13, and must be returned by April 3. Visit our Election Center to learn everything you need to know about the upcoming vote.

Fair Anchorage thanks these non-profits for speaking out against the dangerous messaging our opponents are spreading.

Over 40 Local Businesses Join Anchorage Chamber and Others in Opposition to Prop 1

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Today, more than 40 local businesses came together to announce their opposition to Prop 1, which would remove comprehensive nondiscrimination protections  for transgender people from Anchorage law—and, as these businesses warned today, have major impacts on Anchorage’s economy and tourism industry

These businesses  join the three major entities that have already voiced their opposition: the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Visit Anchorage (the city’s major tourism bureau), and the Anchorage Economic Development Council (AEDC).

“We are against Proposition 1,” said John Kauffman, attorney at Stoel Rives in Anchorage—who hosted today’s press conference “As business owners, we are concerned that this proposition, if approved, would result in significant negative publicity for our city and harm our economy.  As lawyers, we are concerned about enacting such an ambiguously written law of questionable enforceability that has no reasonable justification. And as residents of the Anchorage community, we cannot support a proposition that so clearly and intentionally singles out members of our community for discrimination and unequal treatment.”

The coalition includes iconic local businesses such as Beartooth Theaterpub & Grille and Snow City Cafe, as well as large multinational corporations including BP.

Bill Popp, president and CEO of AEDC described his organization’s opposition to Prop 1 in a statement:

“AEDC’s ‘Live. Work. Play.’ initiative is a business-led effort to improve the quality of life in Anchorage, making the city not only a better place to live, but a better climate for business investment. The AEDC Board of Directors has voted to oppose Proposition 1. It is directly contradictory to our values as a community and as businesses we must foster and protect diversity and inclusion in Anchorage.”

One of the most pressing concerns regarding Prop 1 is the effect that it could have on tourism, a key component of Anchorage’s economy. Visit Anchorage’s executive director Julie Saupe offered:

“Visit Anchorage’s Board of Directors opposes Proposition 1. As we have witnessed in other destinations, similar discriminatory initiatives threaten our industry and community interests. Tourism helps maintain private sector jobs and a strong economy. Passage of Proposition 1 will reduce Anchorage’s competitiveness as a welcoming destination for visitors and conventions.”

For the first time ever, the people of Anchorage will vote by mail in a municipal election. Ballots will be mailed on March 13, and must be returned by April 3 at 8:00 PM. Visit our Election Center to learn all the specifics of how and when to vote. To view all the businesses who have joined our No on Prop 1 coalition, click here.

First No on Prop 1 Television Ad Hits the Air in Anchorage!

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Fair Anchorage, our campaign working to defeat Prop 1, released an our first television ad today featuring David Lockard and his transgender teenage son, Col.

“Like most parents, I care deeply about my family,” David Lockard says in the ad. “That includes taking care of our transgender son, Col. … We want him to be safe just like everyone else.”

Col also talks about his fears if Prop 1 is approved by voters: “I’m scared that if Proposition 1 passes, I would be bullied and harassed.”

We are confident that as people see this ad in the coming days, they will arrive at the same conclusion we already have — that Prop 1 isn’t how we treat people in Anchorage, and that our friends and neighbors like Col deserve equal protections under the law.

David and Col join an already impressive chorus of voices speaking out against Prop 1, including Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll, Anchorage faith leaders, and women of Anchorage; view those ads and others by clicking here.

“Prop 1 doesn’t make Anchorage safer. There are already laws against going into a bathroom to hurt someone or do them harm. Instead, it puts young people like Col at risk,” said Kati Ward, our campaign manager.. “We need to make sure everyone knows – and particularly kids – that they are welcome and safe in Anchorage.”

For the first time ever, the residents of Anchorage will be voting by mail in the upcoming municipal election, This Saturday, March 3, is the deadline to register to vote. Ballots will be sent to voters starting March 13, and are due postmarked or placed in ballot drop-off boxes by April 3. Visit our Election Center to learn all the details about how to vote and more.

Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) Officially Opposes Prop 1

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This week, the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) officially announced its opposition to Prop 1, joining an already impressive business coalition that is working with our No on Prop 1 campaign to defend basic protections for transgender people at the ballot this April.

A letter from the President of the AEDC and the chair of the corporation’s Board of Directors stated in part:

“Discrimination is not a part of Anchorage’s community spirit, and it is not how we do business. We need to be doing what we can to attract new businesses to our community, not scare them away with discriminatory legislation that does not represent who we are: a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming city for all people.”

The letter also references the economic difficulties that could befall Anchorage if Prop 1 is passed, similar to those faced by North Carolina after passage of the now-infamous HB 2, which discriminated against transgender people in public accommodations.  

“AEDC believes this initiative would inflict unnecessary discrimination on members of the community, and that it solves no evident problem that has been created by the original passage of the anti-discrimination ordinance. Moreover, this ordinance would have significant negative economic impacts on our city, the largest economy in the state.”

Earlier in February, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce announced their formal opposition to Prop 1, saying, “The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce believes that passing Proposition 1 would be detrimental to business in the city.”

Fair Anchorage is working with coalitions including businesses, faith leaders, and safety advocates in order to speak with voters about the need to protect transgender people in Anchorage by voting no on Proposition 1.

The deadline for voter registration is Saturday, March 3. For the first time ever, Anchorage residents will be voting in a municipal election by mail. Ballots will be sent March 13, and must be postmarked or in ballot drop boxes by April 3. Visit our Election Center to learn everything about the upcoming vote, and learn how to volunteer by clicking here.

Human Rights Campaign Agreeing to Match Donations Through Wednesday!

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In just 16 days, every single voter in Anchorage will have their ballots in hand.

Our plan to defeat Proposition 1 is an ambitious one. We’re plastering the airwaves with TV, radio and digital ads, building an unparalleled volunteer force and having tens of thousands of conversations with Anchorage voters about the importance of upholding our municipal transgender protections.

Now, our partners at the Human Rights Campaign are stepping up: They have agreed to match every donation to help defeat Proposition 1—up to $10,000—until Wednesday night at midnight!

We’re already putting a winning plan into motion: Just today, we went on the airwaves across Anchorage with the first No on Prop 1 radio ad of the campaign!

Our new ad depicts Proposition 1 for what it truly is: An initiative designed to harm the transgender people who call Anchorage home.

If we can hit our $10,000 goal by midnight on Wednesday, today’s radio ad will just be the first of many. We’ll spend the next month making the case against Prop 1 on the radio, on TV and across digital platforms—all while, our volunteer team will be knocking on doors and having the important face-to-face conversations that we know will carry us to victory.

If you pitch in now, 100% of your donation will ensure we give this fight everything we’ve got.

Click here to double your donation immediately, and help us continue in our efforts to defend transgender rights at the ballot this March.

On the air: Fair Anchorage Releases First No on Prop 1 Radio Ad

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Today, our campaign officially launched our first paid radio ad making the case against Proposition 1 and encouraging the people of Anchorage to keep non-discrimination protections for transgender people on the books:

“Anchorage law protects transgender people from discrimination in public spaces. Because treating everyone fairly is who we are as Alaskans. But Prop 1 would take away those protections, putting transgender people at risk for harassment and violence, just for using the restroom. It’s already illegal to enter a restroom to harm someone in Anchorage. All Prop 1 will do is legalize discrimination against transgender people. Vote no on Prop 1.”

It is an exciting time to have this ad released to the public: we are three weeks away from ballots being mailed to voters, and just over a month away from Election Day on April 3rd, when voters will determine  the ultimate fate of Proposition 1.

The radio ad follows a series of videos the campaign has released online, spotlighting such individuals and groups as Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll, local faith leaders, and women of Anchorage, all speaking out against the dangers of Prop 1.

“Voting for the April 3 municipal election starts soon so it’s more important than ever to reach out to voters earlier so that they understand Prop 1,” said Kati Ward, campaign manager for Fair Anchorage. “Prop 1 will hurt our city and send a message that we aren’t a welcoming place to live, work and raise a family.”

Prop 1, if passed, would remove existing protections against discrimination for transgender people from Anchorage’s non-discrimination ordinance. t would force transgender people to use bathrooms based on their biological sex at birth, and could allow any individual to demand a person to provide a copy of their birth certificate before permitting them access to the bathroom.

But Prop 1 offers no standard for enforcement; Just last week, Anchorage School District Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop spoke out forcefully against the measure:

“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. Prop 1 will hurt students and our city. We need to make sure everyone knows – and particularly kids – that they are welcome and safe in Anchorage.”

Chief Doll is on record as saying, ““I honestly don’t know exactly how we would enforce something like that…that would be something that would be extraordinarily difficult for us to deal with.” In addition, the Chief has also stated that his department does not have the capacity, “to post an officer at every bathroom in Anchorage.”

For the first time, Anchorage’s Municipal Election is 100% vote-by-mail. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters on March 13 and secure drop boxes for ballots will open across the city through Election Day on April 3rd.. This Saturday, March 3 is the last day to register to vote for this election; click here to visit our Election Center to learn about registering, how to vote, and to read more detail about how Proposition 1 would negatively impact transgender people.