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‘Pee-In’ Tests New WA Restroom Law

Posted Sep 7, 2007 3:05 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Dozens of attendees at a Seattle gender conference reportedly staged a "pee-in" recently to protest the eviction of two female-to-male transgender cohorts from a men's restroom at a downtown shopping mall.

The reported removal of the two, by mall security, after a male restroom patron complained apparently violates a year-old Washington state law allowing transgender individuals to use the restroom that matches the gender with which they identify, according to the Seattle Times. The state is one of 11 that have such laws protecting the transgendered from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The two individuals evicted from the men's room weren't arrested, but they said they were humiliated by being escorted out of the mall by an unsympathetic security guard as shoppers stared at them, the article reports. It gives only their first names, and says that Sean, 22, and Simon, 27, plan to file discrimination complaints against the mall with both the city and the state in what would be the first such discrimination case under the state law. Meanwhile, outraged over the Aug. 31 incident at Pacific Place, about three dozen attendees of the Gender Odyssey Conference at Washington State Convention and Trade Center marched on the mall on Labor Day for what they described as a pee-in in the mall's 4th-floor restrooms.

A mall spokeswoman said the two men were ejected for being disruptive, rather than due to their gender identity. However, she also said the mall will review its procedures.

"I always tell people that most bathrooms have stalls with doors on them and once you're inside that stall, nobody knows what kind of plumbing you have," says Marc Brenman, executive director of the state Human Rights Commission. "This is a new law and obviously there's a big need for education."

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