Mayor announces Executive Order protecting transgender rights

Mayor Ed Murray will sign an Executive Order next week instructing the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to provide guidance and training to City departments on the City’s groundbreaking all-gender public accommodation ordinance.

“Seattle must remain a safe place for the transgender and gender-diverse community. I’m committed to taking every step we can to make our public facilities safe and welcoming for all,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “City staff will receive additional resources and trainings to ensure that members of our transgender and gender-diverse communities are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

The Executive Order mandates culturally responsive training for all relevant front-line staff at City departments, such as Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Seattle Center, and the Seattle Public Library, in partnership with the Pride Foundation. Additionally, the order directs OCR to develop procedures for staff that create safe and inclusive single-gender facilities.

“Transgender people are part of our workplaces, classrooms, neighborhoods, families, communities, and places of worship—and need to be able to use public facilities without fear of harassment or discrimination simply because of who they are,” said Kris Hermanns, Executive Director of the Pride Foundation. “We are grateful for the leadership of Mayor Murray to affirm that our laws do not exclude transgender people.”

“All of us, including transgender people, care about privacy and safety in public facilities. Transgender people have safely been using public facilities consistent with the gender they live as every day for the last ten years,” said Seth Kirby, Vice Chair of the Pride Foundation and Executive Director of the Oasis Youth Center. “I look forward to educating our community about ways to ensure safety and privacy in public facilities for all, especially transgender individuals, because transgender people are 53% more likely to experience discrimination, harassment, and violence in places of public accommodation.”

“The City of Seattle has a longstanding commitment to upholding the rights and dignity of all people,” said Patricia Lally, Director of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights. “The Mayor’s Executive Order serves as a reminder that the City is steadfast in this commitment.  The Seattle Office for Civil Rights looks forward to working with the Mayor and our community partners to deliver training on the rights of transgender and gender-diverse people, and on creating an environment that is inclusive for everyone.”

In August of 2015, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed Mayor Murray’s proposal requiring all City-controlled and privately operated places of public accommodation to designate existing and future single-stall restrooms as all-gender facilities. The legislation also clarifies existing law allowing individuals to use the restroom of their chosen gender identity or expression. The legislation was a recommendation from the Mayor’s LGBTQ Task Force and the City of Seattle’s LGBTQ Commission.