I believe a peculiar feature of Whatcom County politics is that, despite broad support for robust personal freedoms on the left and right, a particularly draconian and discriminatory streak runs through the work of some politicians when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality. State Sen. Ericksen and other Washington politicians who have recently introduced anti-transgender and anti-gay bills should stop clinging to the bigotry that characterized a past era and join those of us who respect people regardless of how they identify.
I believe Ericksen’s bathroom bill is particularly ill-conceived, mean-spirited, and juvenile. Transgender people, especially transgender women of color, are the most likely category of people to be the victim of a bias-motivated crime, according to the most recent FBI statistics, and commit far fewer violent sexual offenses than cisgender (non-transgender) men. If he is so concerned about the safety of women, then the senator would do much better by working with survivors of sexual violence to address actual threats to their safety related to gender equality and ineffective accountability systems. Transgender and gender non-conforming people are already discriminated against by rules that we should be dismantling, not expanding. These politicians should drop their bathroom obsession and focus on advocating for all the people they represent, including the LGBTQ community.
Josh Cerretti, Bellingham
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