Controversial initiative on gendered restroom use submitted to city clerk

Published: Jul. 20, 2017 at 11:34 AM AKDT
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A controversial initiative addressing bathroom and locker room use by members of the opposite sex has been filed with the Anchorage city clerk's office.

The initiative is called 'Protect Our Privacy,' and it asks for an amendment to be made on the city's nondiscrimination ordinance, passed by the Anchorage Assembly in 2015.

According to the Alaska Family Council, nearly 8500 signatures were gathered for the petition which aims to require "municipal owned facilities like the Sullivan Arena and libraries to segregate their intimate spaces based on biological sex as determined at birth."

In a statement circulated by Jim Minnery, the president of Alaska Family Action, he states, "Not everyone should have access to any intimate space they want because of how they feel." Minnery also took the opportunity to ask for donations in the form of "gifts."

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, employees with the clerk's office were in the process of receiving the documents.

"We will now wait for the Clerk to certify our signatures and look toward to April of 2018 where this issue will come before the voters on the ballot," the release states.

Those who oppose the petition say it could lead to discrimination.

“Transgender people, like all people in Alaska, really value their privacy and safety. I'm more concerned about the parents who are wondering what to do for their children who are transgender,” Andrea Zekas, community organizer for Fair Anchorage said.

A few dozen supporters of Fair Anchorage gathered outside City Hall Thursday afternoon.

Among them, Judy Edwards and her ten-year-old son, Eric, who has cerebral palsy.

Edwards said accessing a bathroom to accommodate her son’s needs is a challenge and if an amendment is made to the ordinance it could affect the family even more.

“Do I change him in the men’s bathroom then because he's with me? Where would I change him? When they have family restrooms they're not equipped for somebody like us,” she said.