On a Friday night, about 50 people gather at the West Central Community Center. The stated purpose of the meeting is an initiative drive by the group Just Want Privacy to put the state rule allowing gender choice for bathrooms on the ballot.
In attendance and in support of the initiative are Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan and State Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy. However, more than half of those gathered appear to be against the initiative.
There are about 15 people sitting at the front of the room listening to the two speakers – Mitch Hall and Kaeley Triller Haver – explain how to gather signatures and the purpose of their efforts. Behind them are two empty rows of chairs and then, in the back of the room, sit about three dozen younger people against the initiative.
“This is not about transgender people,” Haver says. “This is about bad policy.”
Many of the men and women in the room disagree, insisting that Just Want Privacy’s initiative is very much about transgender people. Several times throughout the meeting, Haver and Hall try to pull the conversation back into the realm of policy. The audience members, many of whom are transgender themselves, refuse.
“Before this initiative I was scared to use any public bathroom,” one audience member says. “What about me? I’m a human being and I’m a little different.”
Some of the signature-gatherers want to talk beliefs, not policy.
“To me this is kind of a chink out of the moral order,” Judy Crowder says. “You are made by God either male or female and there are rules in society that you have to keep order. I feel sorry that people don’t fit in the world but you can’t make them fit in the world. The order has been established for a long time.”
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