HISTORIC: Anchorage Wins Popular Vote on Transgender Rights

April 6, 2018 • 9:31 pm

In turning point for LGBTQ movement, voters uphold protections for transgender people from discrimination

ANCHORAGE – Today Anchorage voters defeated Proposition 1, a ballot measure that would have removed nondiscrimination protections for transgender people from Anchorage’s city ordinances. The municipality of Anchorage has yet to officially declare the results, but with the NO campaign leading by 52.7%, and the YES campaign trailing behind with 47.3%, the local Fair Anchorage campaign has declared it nearly impossible for Proposition 1 to pass.

This makes Anchorage the first American jurisdiction to uphold transgender protections on a standalone ballot measure. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, and one of the largest jurisdictions in the country to have passed a ballot initiative ensuring nondiscrimination protections for transgender Americans. This win ensures that Anchorage remains one of more than 250 cities and 18 states across the country with similar protections in place.

“Today’s victory indicates that the tide is turning in our movement for LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination protections,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “In one of the first-ever municipal ballot fights specifically centered on transgender people, the win in Anchorage is a game-changing victory. Just six years ago, Anchorage voted against protections for LGBTQ people; and this time, voters turned out to the polls in record numbers and affirmed their core values of treating all people fairly, even in the face of desperate and misleading tactics pushed forward by our opponents. Our triumph in Anchorage shows that advocates for nondiscrimination protections know what it takes to win voters and change hearts and minds. The local campaign mobilized early, recruited a strong and diverse coalition, spearheaded a citywide conversation, and fired on all cylinders to run a successful campaign that put the faces, voices, and families of transgender people first. The campaigns ahead won’t be easy, but Anchorage will serve as a shining example of what we can achieve when we have honest, one-on-one conversations about who transgender people are.”

Freedom for All Americans was the top contributor to Fair Anchorage and a leading member of the campaign. FFAA served on the executive committee and advised on overall strategy, messaging, field organizing, advertising, digital strategy, and earned media. FFAA also provided in-kind donations of a campaign website, digital assets and significant staff time.

The Anchorage win is especially impactful when contextualized by the renewed effort by the Trump administration to target transgender youth, workers, and service members. The victory proves that a growing number of Americans are rejecting discrimination against transgender people, as evidenced by public outcry around North Carolina’s HB 2; two consecutive failures by anti-LGBTQ activists in Washington State to bring the state’s decade-old nondiscrimination law to a ballot measure; the defeat of Texas’ SB 6, one of the worst anti-transgender bills in the country; and the proactive passage of transgender nondiscrimination laws in Massachusetts in 2016 and in the New Hampshire Republican-controlled House just last month.

Fair Anchorage has run a robust campaign since spring 2017 that features local Anchorage residents who would be directly and negatively affected by repeal of the law, particularly transgender youth and their families. In addition, Anchorage’s leading experts on public safety and women’s privacy, including the executive director of STAR, Anchorage’s leading organization to prevent sexual violence; the Anchorage Education Association; more than 110 local bipartisan community leaders50 Anchorage businesses including the Anchorage Chamber, Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) and Visit Anchorage; and 40 faith leaders and congregations have all called on voters to oppose Proposition 1. More than 250 Fair Anchorage volunteers completed 515 volunteer shifts, knocked on over 2,000 doors, made over 66,000 phone calls, and engaged in over 13,000 direct conversations with Anchorage voters.

Anchorage’s ballot measure on transgender rights was the first one of 2018. Massachusetts will consider a statewide ballot measure in November 2018 that seeks to repeal its 2016 transgender nondiscrimination law; and opponents of transgender equality in Montana are collecting signatures for a potential ballot measure in November as well.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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