Trans Advocacy is Trans Power: Post-Legislative Session 2024 Update


With the legislative session now wrapped up, we have a lot to celebrate: as a result of our collective work, we achieved some significant victories for queer and Trans people in the state. One of our proudest accomplishments was helping pass the curriculum inclusion bill which ensures all students in Washington State school districts learn about LGBTQ+ peoples’ contributions as part of their coursework. Finally, students will have the opportunity to learn in classrooms that queer and Trans people have always existed and have always made valuable contributions to our communities and culture. 

Other highlights from the session include: 


Healthcare Wins

We passed a bill expanding access to Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) across the state in emergency rooms. For many survivors of sexual assault we work with, having a clear and quick path to access PEP is absolutely essential for safety and peace of mind. 
We passed a bill legislating that ultrasounds may only be given by appropriately licensed providers within their scope of practice. (How was this not already a law?). The significance of this bill is in keeping so-called “crisis pregnancy centers”—i.e. anti-abortion activists who are not healthcare providers—from using ultrasounds to try to convince a pregnant person not to have an abortion. 
We also danced on the grave of the mandated reporting bill which would have endangered sex workers and Trans people alike for simply trying to access medical care. 


Survivor Wins

We passed the crime victims support bill which will allow survivors of gender-based violence and sexual assault to testify virtually, as opposed to having to appear in court with their abuser. As survivor advocates, we have worked with dozens of survivors who have gone through grueling in-person court processes; and we are grateful for the relief this bill will bring. The bill also extends the statute of limitations for state actors who engage in sexual misconduct; allows survivors to access victim compensation funds without having to file police reports; and makes many more positive changes.

We also won a hate crimes hotline at the Attorney General’s Office, which will help us document the number of bias-motivated incidents and hate crimes that might not show up in official statistics; direct survivors to resources; and help facilitate survivors’ access to the state victims compensation program.We also passed a bill that adds to the definition of a hate crime, now including the defacement of public or private property. (How was that not already included?) 


Victory for Strippers

We worked in coalition to pass the Stripper Bill of Rights, bringing safety to dancers and adult entertainers by requiring establishments to have security and to put keypad locks on dressing room doors; requiring staff training on prevention of sexual harassment and assault, and de-escalating tense situations; and disallowing businesses from charging “house fees” so high that dancers owe more than they made during the day. The bill also brings Washington State in alignment with the rest of the country in allowing alcohol service in strip clubs—which reduces the burden of profitability off of performers and onto business owners.

The passage of this bill also helped to repeal the anti-queer “lewd conduct law” which has repeatedly been used against our community bars and clubs to target queer club-goers employees. 



RIP Anti-Trans Bills

Last but not certainly not least, we celebrated the death of every anti-trans bill introduced in WA this session:

  • HB 1214, which would have banned any gender-affirming care for minors (under 18) in WA; prevented mental health and medical providers from referring minors to care; and outlawed any care going forward, making it a class C felony to provide or refer minors to gender-affirming care.
  • HB 2241, which would have prohibited puberty-blocking medications, “cross-sex hormones,” and gender transition surgeries for minors. 
  • HB 1233, which would have meant housing incarcerated Trans people in state correctional facilities on the “basis” of “biological sex.” 
  • SB 6026, which would have required students in public schools to use only their name assigned at birth, prohibited the use of nicknames or preferred/alternative names, and given educators a pass to not use a student’s correct pronouns or name.


The Less-Than-Stellar News 

Unfortunately, this session also included some significant disappointments. For example, the Keep Our Care Act died in the House before making it to a final vote: the clock ran out and by default, our opposition won. Although we are vastly disappointed by this outcome, we are encouraged by the fact that we got this bill much further than we have in any of the last four legislative sessions. We truly believe we will come back even stronger next year and get this thing passed.

Similarly, the Rent Stabilization bill also died in the House. Again, we couldn’t get the House Rules Committee to vote it out on the floor. The House was particularly challenging this session: as the House Democratic caucus grows larger, it becomes more unwieldy and difficult to move towards decisive progressive action. We hope to see a rent stabilization bill come back next session with more attention and force from leadership.

Lastly, the so-called “Parent’s Bill of Rights,” I-2081, passed unanimously in the Senate. (Only 15 House members voted against it—all of whom are close friends of ours). In response, alongside our coalition partners, we remain tirelessly committed to holding school boards accountable and advocating for inclusive and equitable policies that protect the rights and privacy of all students, especially students who may become the targets of extremist school boards. Moving forward, we are working with our community partners at Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates, Washington Education Association, Pro-Choice Washington, UFCW 3000, Queer Power Alliance, Greater Seattle Business Association, Legal Voice, Legal Counsel for Youth and Children, QLaw Foundation of Washington, and others to explore all of our options to address I-2081 to ensure the rights, safety, and privacy of LGBTQ+ youth and youth seeking reproductive healthcare services. We are not done fighting this.


Thank You 

We’d like to give a big heartfelt thank you to our community, partner organizations, local organizers, volunteers, and legislative allies. Together we’ve made these wins for our communities possible, and we soften the blow of our losses with our continued energy and commitment to TwoSpirit, Trans, & Gender Diverse people across Washington. 

We also want to give a special shout-out to the 183 people who joined us for our 2nd annual Advocacy Day last month (and many, many more who would’ve joined if we weren’t at capacity). (For comparison, last year, our Advocacy Day hosted 80 people at the Capitol). Because every single district in WA State was represented, we reached every Democratic member of the House of Representatives—and at a critical time—ultimately helping secure the passage of the Stripper Bill of Rights and curriculum inclusion for LGBTQ+ youth in schools. Our advocates changed legislators’ minds and secured firm commitments from multiple legislators to support these priority bills. 

As we continue to face an extremely difficult political road ahead, we rest easier at night knowing the power we have when we work as a collective. Thank you for giving your time, energy, and other precious resources to the fight for a state where we can live as ourselves: safely, securely, and wholly. 

With love, 
Gender Justice League 

Community donors fund 100% of our advocacy work, allowing us to continue fighting for and winning policies that help our communities access the care they need, and keep anti-trans policies out of our state. If you can, please consider making a gift today.