Blog Post

NEW AD: Faith Leaders Say No on Prop 1

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Today, our campaign to defend transgender rights in Anchorage launched a new ad featuring pastors, rabbis, and other faith leaders across our city standing together to definitively make the case against Proposition 1.

Backers of Proposition 1 want voters to believe that faith leaders across the board support their efforts to rob transgender people of basic, fundamental protections under Anchorage law.

But we won’t stand by as our opponents use their faith as a weapon.

Our coalition of faith leaders opposed to Proposition 1 is growing every day, because their faith embraces the full human dignity of ALL people.

Watch our new ad released today by Fair Anchorage, and please share it on Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word!

Anchorage Superintendent Says Prop 1 is Unnecessary and Cannot Be Enforced

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Anchorage School District Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop today addressed Prop 1, which would repeal portions of Anchorage’s non-discrimination ordinance protecting transgender people.

While the Anchorage School District is legally prohibited from taking positions on ballot initiatives, Superintendent Bishop made it clear that these existing protections have worked well for the past two years 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.”

Our campaign manager thanked Superintendent Bishop for speaking out against this discriminatory initiative—agreeing that it’s our transgender youth who will be most harmed by Prop 1:

“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.”

Superintendent Bishop’s statement came just minutes after six students testified before the Anchorage School Board—explaining how Proposition 1 and the repeal of our municipal non-discrimination law would impact them.

And Tuesday morning, former Superintendent Carol Comeau published an op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News  speaking out against Proposition 1—saying that it would interfere with learning in schools across Anchorage:

The non-discrimination law has now been on the books for two years, and it has served our students well. It has allowed our educators to work with individual students and solve problems on a case-by-case basis. Proposition 1 would take that flexibility away from our students and educators. The current law acknowledges that different students have unique needs. Proposition 1 papers over those differences with policy that is ineffective and harmful. In my opinion, it is far more worthwhile for educators to work with individual students than to stand guard outside bathrooms checking birth certificates.

Superintendent Bishop joins Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll in questioning how Proposition 1 would be enforced. At an Anchorage Assembly meeting last fall, Chief Doll responded to a question about Proposition 1, saying “I honestly don’t know how we would enforce something like that.”

Proposition 1 is unnecessary and unenforceable. The Superintendent of Anchorage Public Schools agrees. The Chief of Police agrees. And on April 3rd, we’re confident a majority of voters will agree.


BREAKING: Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Votes to Oppose Prop 1!

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In a statement issued Monday, February 5, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce announced their formal opposition to Prop 1, which would overturn existing non-discrimination protections for transgender people in the city.

The Chamber has represented over 900 businesses and their 50,000 employees in Anchorage for over 100 years. Their mission, as quoted, is, “to advance a successful business climate by attending to the civic, economic, and cultural betterment of our community.”

The statement definitively lays out the case for how Prop 1 would be incredibly detrimental to Anchorage’s business climate. The Chamber states that passage of the discriminatory ordinance would promote a negative message that Anchorage is not a welcoming city, thereby discouraging potential new business opportunities and leading to a severe decrease in tourism dollars, a major factor in Anchorage’s economy:

“The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce believes that passing Proposition 1 would be detrimental to business in the city,” a statement released on Feb. 5 and signed by Chamber President Bruce Bustamante says. “Many conferences and potential new business would be lost due to this discriminatory legislation which would convey the message that Anchorage is not a welcoming city. At a time when all businesses are working to stay competitive and keep workers employed, we simply can’t afford such a discriminatory initiative.”

The Chamber’s statement emphasizes the positive effects of the existing non-discrimination law, in effect since 2015, which provides comprehensive protections for all residents in Anchorage.

Anchorage cannot stand to lose its competitiveness for new business and workforce talent, nor suffer a hit to its reputation as an inclusive and welcoming city.

Help us spread the word to local businesses about why they should support Fair Anchorage. Are you a business owner? Sign our business pledge here.

New Ad: Anchorage Women Say NO on Proposition 1

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Backers of Proposition 1 will spend the next seven weeks claiming their goal is to protect women from harassment.

But we aren’t going to let their lies go unchecked. That’s why today, we’re launching a powerful new ad featuring women across Anchorage speaking out against Proposition 1 with one simple message: Do not harm transgender people in the name of women.

The fact is, it’s already illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass someone in Anchorage. Proposition 1 won’t change that–and it won’t make anyone safer.

Everyone, including transgender people, values safety and privacy in restrooms. And we won’t for one second let our opponents scare voters into thinking that our city’s non-discrimination law–or our transgender neighbors or friends–pose a public safety risk.

The message in this ad is important, and we need to make sure every Anchorage voter sees it before they decide the fate of Proposition 1 on Election Day.

If our opponents think that they’re going to spread these heinous lies in our city–and do so in the name of Anchorage women–they better think twice.

CLICK HERE to share the ad on Facebook and Twitter!

Proposition 1: Should the Anchorage Police Department Really Monitor Restrooms Instead of Fighting Crime?

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Today, our campaign to defend transgender non-discrimination protections in Anchorage launched a new ad.

In the ad, Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll explains to the Anchorage Assembly that his department has many priorities in terms of keeping the city safe, and having police officers somehow be “bathroom enforcers” is least among them. In fact, he states:

“I don’t think APD has the capacity to staff bathrooms with police officers for checking ID…I mean, it’s hard to say that with a straight face.”

But that’s exactly what Proposition 1 would force upon local law enforcement—by requiring everyone to show their birth certificates when doing something as simple as using a municipal restroom.

Two previous ads have already aired; in the first, Chief Doll states that Prop 1 is clearly unenforceable, and in the second, that Prop 1 does not do anything to make the city safer.

Chief Doll’s message has been consistent from the beginning — there is simply no way to enforce Prop 1 — and posting police officers at bathrooms to check birth certificates takes away from the job they should be doing, which is preventing actual crime across Anchorage. As Anchorage grapples with an increase in crime, the last thing we need is our police department diverting their focus to monitoring restrooms.

The truth of the matter is this — non-discrimination protections for transgender people have been on the books for two years, without incident. Anchorage, like the 18 states and over 200 cities with similar laws, has not seen any uptick in public safety incidents, even though our opponents say Prop 1 is a public safety issue. It’s already illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass someone in Anchorage.

Help us continue to spread the word and mobilize voters to Vote No On Prop 1 this April! Click here to see a list of upcoming events, and to view all of our campaign ads, click here.

Incumbent Mayor and Challenger Both Agree: Proposition 1 is No Good For Anchorage

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Both the incumbent Mayor of Anchorage, Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, and his Republican challenger, Rebecca Logan, have both publicly gone on record as opposing Proposition 1, the ballot initiative on the April 3rd ballot that would  to repeal Anchorage’s existing non-discrimination protections for our transgender friends and neighbors.

Logan, who already has the endorsement of Alaska’s Republican Party, confirmed last week that she opposes Proposition 1, saying that public policies should be crafted through discussion rather than ballot initiatives.

Berkowitz, seeking his second term, said in a statement released in 2017 when Proposition 1 qualified for the ballot:

“I oppose this now certified initiative petition. It is divisive and distracting at a time when we should be united and focused on the issues that impact Anchorage every day – making sure we have good jobs and a growing economy, that our neighborhoods are safe, and we continue to reduce the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in our community.”

Berkowitz has also said that Prop 1 is, “based on stereotyping and unfounded fear.”The stances of both candidates make it clear — opposing discrimination is not a partisan value, it is an Alaskan value. Anchorage has many issues to focus on, and trying to enforce a ballot measure that would require the checking of a birth certificate to use a bathroom is far from the most important pressing issue in our city as made clear by both candidates as well as local law enforcement like Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll, who has recently questioned how such an initiative would be enforced.

Anchorage’s current non-discrimination protections have been on the books for two years, and even though our opposition claims Prop 1 to be a public safety issue, in that time there has been no uptick in public safety incidents.

If there’s one thing Alaskans on both sides of the political aisle can agree on, it’s this: Everyone should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Fair Anchorage thanks both Mayor Berkowitz and candidate Logan for their public opposition to Prop 1.

To keep up with the latest news about Prop 1, click here.

Fair Anchorage Announces Campaign Leadership Staff

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Fair Anchorage is excited to announce our campaign leadership team, who will be working with our already existing coalitions and grassroots supporters to mobilize Anchorage voters to vote No on Prop 1.

Our leadership team comes a wide variety of backgrounds, but all believe in the same mission: We must fight to protect our transgender friends, family, and neighbors from discrimination by defeating Proposition 1 and defending Anchorage’s transgender-inclusive non-discrimination law.. Our team is a committed, qualified group of Anchorage residents who we know have what it takes to carry our movement to victory.

Read more about the team below — a brief overview of their experience and why they believe, as we do, that the work to protect non-discrimination is essential.

Denise Sudbeck, Campaign Co-Chair

Denise Sudbeck is a married trans woman living in Anchorage who has returned to Alaska after several years, previously living in Kodiak and Fairbanks. Denise is a published author and is currently involved in several writing projects, including a Doctor of Ministry dissertation in trans-focused theology. She is the pastor of MCC Last Frontier, an emerging church of the Metropolitan Community Churches. She also works on several community projects including Fair Anchorage, Moral Movement AK, the Poor People’s Campaign, and Christians for Equality.

What inspired you to work on Fair Anchorage’s campaign to defeat Proposition 1?

I’ve been able to transition and prosper because somebody else helped pave the way. My personal liberation required my cooperation and hard work, but it also needed a community of people unwilling to leave me behind. I feel an obligation to help do the same for another who was where I was several years ago. I feel grateful for having a way to contribute.

Why do you love Anchorage? What’s your favorite thing about our city?

After several years absence from Alaska, I’m grateful for a chance to return. I’ve lived in many other cities and regions, yet Anchorage is unique as perched right on the edge of wilderness.  There is no clear boundary. Wilderness creeps into the neighborhood every day. Living in a place like Anchorage means that we depend on each other.  Being a good neighbor means more.

When you first heard that Proposition 1 would be on the April ballot in Anchorage, what was your reaction?

This is really nothing new under the sun. We’ve heard this all before, the fear mongering, the half-truths. But the constant threat to human rights can’t be ignored. The threat can’t stop us from engaging in life. So once again, let’s get back into the game and let’s continue to shine a bright light onto the lies. The truth has to be the effective antidote.

Defeating Proposition 1 won’t be easy. What do you see as the key to defending Anchorage’s non-discrimination law?

Our transgender community is picking up more support and better understanding every day.  That support is wonderful but what actually makes a difference is returning the ballot. Taking specific action propels moral support forward. Every vote is crucial. I and every other trans person need our neighbors, co-workers, and the like to step up alongside us. Once you know your neighbors, don’t let fear decide for you. Follow that decision all the way through.

If someone wants to get involved in the No on Prop 1 campaign, what would you suggest?

There are plenty of ways to get involved.  The most effective ways involve helping to shed more of that light; making phone calls and canvassing helps to do that.  Fundraising is always an important contribution to sharing the message. Whatever pushes the “passion button,” don’t hesitate.  Let somebody associated with the campaign help you find a way to express that. The message of keeping Anchorage fair is not complicated; every person can share how important it is to live in a community like this.

David Lockard, Campaign Co-Chair

David Lockard is a longtime resident of Anchorage, who is raising two teenagers, including his transgender son, Col.

What inspired you to work on Fair Anchorage’s campaign to defeat Proposition 1?
My inspiration is my transgender son, Col. I want to make this a better world for him, and also to show both my kids that it is important to act on the things you believe in.

Why do you love Anchorage? What’s your favorite thing about our city?

I love the trails, the mountains, the creative musicians and dancers I know through the Dancing Bears, the Bear Tooth Theater, the Tour of Anchorage ski marathon, the fishing and hunting nearby. The trails are my favorite thing.

When you first heard that Proposition 1 would be on the April ballot in Anchorage, what was your reaction?

Dismay. A sneaking fear that it might pass, and that it would cause people to harass my son.

Defeating Proposition 1 won’t be easy. What do you see as the key to defending Anchorage’s non-discrimination law?

Making it personal to the target voter audience. Since most of them don’t have transgender family members or friends, I want to connect with them by reminding them of a father’s love for his son. I also want to make the issue about sexual assault, the biggest social problem Anchorage faces, which has nothing to do with transgender people in bathrooms.

If someone wants to get involved in the No on Prop 1 campaign, what would you suggest?

Speak out. Write letters to the editor. Attend rallies. Donate. Talk to your friends.

Kati Ward, Campaign Manager

Kati came to Alaska on a whim and one summer turned into a year, turned into falling in love with this rugged state and her partner. She’s accepted this place that has brought her in and given her this sense of community, a community worth fighting for.

What inspired you to work on Fair Anchorage’s campaign to defeat Proposition 1?
Anchorage is my home and I have friends and family connected to this issue, we must defeat this hateful legislation.

Why do you love Anchorage? What’s your favorite thing about our city?
I love the spirit of this city – rugged, independent, and fierce. The idea that this proposition could change how people simply uses the bathroom completely changes this city.

When you first heard that Proposition 1 would be on the April ballot in Anchorage, what was your reaction?

Anger. Out of all the things in this community that we should be focusing our time and effort, someone decided this is the issue we need put our resources to.

Defeating Proposition 1 won’t be easy. What do you see as the key to defending Anchorage’s non-discrimination law?
Debunking the proponents message that this proposition will make this city safer because it won’t. Alaska has the highest rates of sexual assault and domestic violence, non of that is tied to the transgender community. We need to be addressing the real roots of the problem not blaming a marginalized community.

If someone wants to get involved in the No on Prop 1 campaign, what would you suggest?
DONATE!!! Your money or time.

Lillian Lennon, Field Organizer

New to activism, Lillian organized Talkeetna, Alaska’s first Pride Festival in 2017 and became involved as a volunteer with Fair Anchorage soon after. She plans to build her Pride organization into a nonprofit and possibly expand to the greater valley.

What inspired you to work on Fair Anchorage’s campaign to defeat Proposition 1?
I’ve always been an activist at heart, and I think it is about time that we force hate and discrimination out of Anchorage. I felt that it was my duty as a citizen of Anchorage and a human being to be a part of this movement.

Why do you love Anchorage? What’s your favorite thing about our city?
I love Anchorage because of it’s people and diversity. I love that in times like these, the people of Anchorage can come together in support of love and inclusivity.

When you first heard that Proposition 1 would be on the April ballot in Anchorage, what was your reaction?
I was appalled to see that once again, one of our most vulnerable communities was being maliciously targeted. While it is horrible that human rights become such a divided issue, I want to take this as an opportunity to educate the public and further discussion, ending this misguided hate once and for all.

Defeating Proposition 1 won’t be easy. What do you see as the key to defending Anchorage’s non-discrimination law?
The key to defeating Proposition 1 and upholding Anchorage’s non-discrimination law is education. Most people aren’t aware that an attack on protections for transgender people exists. Repealing these protections would prove devastating to the transgender and gender nonconforming communities and would welcome discrimination back into Anchorage.

If someone wants to get involved in the No on Prop 1 campaign, what would you suggest?
Getting involved is easy. We’ve come a long way in the campaign, but obviously have a long way still to go, which is why we need so much support from our community.  We have frequent opportunities for volunteers to canvass or phone bank for the Fair Anchorage campaign, acting as one of our biggest means of communication. Simply telling friends about our campaign and the struggle for equal protections we face can be so integral in our fight.

We are thrilled to welcome this team onboard, but we know that the success of our campaign relies on more than just leadership — our strong coalitions and grassroots supporters are essential in our campaign’s success. The No on Prop 1 movement continues to grow every day, and our leadership is ready to jump in the trenches and do the important work of protecting our transgender friends, family, and neighbors by voting No on Prop 1 on April 3rd.

Join them by signing up to join our Citywide Action Team!