A signature pledging not to sign another petition: Anchorage's "bathroom" initiative generates controversy

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Some Anchorage voters may have been asked for their signature pledging to not sign another petition. Fair Anchorage is asking people to support the LBGT community and fight against the bathroom initiative, which is being circulated around town now. This petition would repeal a section of Anchorage's 2-year-old gender-identity and sexual-identity protection law. Specifically, it would impact the bathroom part of it.

The bathroom initiative says public bathrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities can only be occupied by people of the same sex. It defines sex as the genetics assigned to someone at the time of birth on a person's original birth certificate. The initiative does includes some exemptions, like a provision for caretakers with minors, under the age of 8, if accompanied by a guardian.

Sponsor Kim Minnery filed the measure as the "Protect Our Privacy" initiative. She is the wife of Jim Minnery with Alaska Family Action.

Tuesday morning, Andrea Zekis, Community Organizer for Fair Anchorage and a transgender woman, stood in a parking lot asking people to sign her pledge to not sign the "Protect our Privacy" initiative.

"The response has been very positive," Zekis said. "I've had many folks who recognize that LGBT people are part of the community - just like everyone else - and that they don't want to have discrimination come back to Anchorage. At times, I've had people give me high fives, because they're glad that we are out here supporting people who need our support."

Zekis said the bathroom initiative would impact her quality of life and ability to work.

"I mean, this would just welcome back discrimination in places of facilities, like restrooms," Zekis said. "And if I can't use the restroom (at) work, I can't work. If I can't use the restroom when I go shopping, I can't shop. And if you're out there, and nature calls, and I'm just trying to do my business - just like anybody else does - it really makes it difficult for me to navigate."

Minnery declined an interview saying he was too busy. He said he would be available Thursday, which is when the 7,500 signatures he would need are due.

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