After months of close campaigning, voters in Anchorage, AK, rejected a measure to force transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their birth certificate, rather than their gender identity, making it the first time a so-called “bathroom bill” was decided by voters.
The latest unofficial results showed nearly 53% of some 77,000 voters rejecting Anchorage’s Proposition 1. The measure would have repealed the city’s ordinance prohibiting discrimination against trans and gender nonconforming people and allowing residents to use public bathrooms, locker rooms, and dressing spaces consistent with their gender identity, CNN reported. 47.3% of voters supported Prop 1.
Because the April 3 election was also the city’s first vote-by-mail race, Anchorage won’t officially certify the results until April 17. But for transgender Alaskans who campaigned so hard against the measure, the victory came as a huge relief.
Lillian Lennon, a 19-year-old trans activist who worked as a field organizer for No on Prop 1, told NBC News that the measure passing would have been “catastrophic” for trans Alaskans. She also recounted the experience of going door to door to campaign and explaining her experience to people who had likely never met a trans person before:
One voter she spoke with expressed concern about sharing the bathroom with trans women, she recalled.
“I was able to explain that I’m a transgender woman myself. If Proposition 1 were to pass, I would be forced to go into the men’s restroom, and I’m scared of what that would mean for me, what that would mean for me and so many of my friends and loved ones who also identify as transgender,” Lennon said.
But, as always, the broader fight is far from over. According to an analysis by the ACLU, at least six legislatures are currently considering bills to limit trans people’s access to the facilities they need to use. Couple that with the Trump administration’s latest effort to ban trans troops, and you have one of our country’s most vulnerable populations under attack on multiple fronts.