SOCR stands with our transgender and gender non-conforming communities

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights stands with our transgender community members in dismay and outrage at the federal government’s attempts to deny legal recognition to transgender people in federally-funded institutions. This attempt to redefine gender as “immutable,” and based on a person’s assigned sex at birth, negates the lives, experiences and humanity of over a million transgender and gender nonconforming individuals both throughout the nation and in Seattle.

While the federal government’s proposal will impact certain institutions, it is important to note that it remains illegal to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals in Seattle, in public accommodations, employment, housing and contracting.

The City of Seattle has recognized gender identity as a protected class since 1999. Our law defines gender identity as an individual’s gender-related identity, appearance, or expression, whether or not traditionally associated with one’s biological sex or one’s sex at birth.

In addition, since 2015 the city has required all-gender signage for single-occupant public restrooms to address a lack of access to gender-segregated facilities.

This legal protection rises from the notion that all people – including those who are transgender and gender nonconforming – should have equal opportunity to thrive in their workplace, in their neighborhoods, and in their communities. This is important not only because transgender and gender nonconforming people face undue harm and lack of access in these spaces, but also because we know that legal recognition of transgender people is critical in the movement toward gender justice.

To our transgender and gender nonconforming community: We see you, we believe in your humanity, and we will continue to uphold your right to stand in your truth.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights will continue to enforce civil rights protections for transgender and gender nonconforming people, in the areas where we have jurisdiction. If you or someone you know is facing discrimination or unfair treatment because of their gender identity, please contact our office at 206-684-4500 or visit seattle.gov/civilrights.