Voters in Alaska’s capital city have settled — for the moment anyway — who can use which public bathroom.
The answer: Anyone can use whichever one they feel most comfortable in.
Anchorage voters (Pop: 300,000) have just defeated a measure to require people to use the restroom according to their biological birth gender. According to the Associated Press, this is the first American city to settle the issue this way.
Anchorage thought it had addressed the toilet with a city ordinance allowing members of any gender to use any locker or restroom that they identified with.
Transgender folks were delighted with the defeat of the repeal proposal, 53-47. Lillian Lennon, who campaigned against the repeal effort, said:
Not only is this a victory for Anchorage, but a victory nationally. Transgender discrimination is popping up everywhere, and this victory means that as a nation we can stand together against discrimination.
Similar votes do seem to be appearing elsewhere, including one in Massachusetts come November. That vote will be to determine if the state repeals a 2016 law that allows people to use whatever restroom is associated with their gender identity, not their biological makeup.
Alaska Family Action filed the Anchorage repeal measure. Jim Minnery, an organizer, said, “We’re encouraged that 47 percent of the people in Anchorage didn’t buy into the $1 million infusion that the outside LGBT activist groups poured into the city.”
Minnery’s campaign reported raising $140,00 to push its side. Opponents reported raising $826,000.
Apparently fearing an economic backlash if the measure passed, opponents of the repeal included Wells Fargo Bank, Visit Anchorage, the city’s tourism promotion body, and BP oil. In 2016, North Carolina state legislators passed a biological bathroom measure that ignited calls for a business boycott. That campaign included the NBA and NCAA pulling games from the state.
Lawmakers soon changed their mind.