Thursday, February 4, 2016

My Testimony against WA State SB 6548, seeking to block access to bathrooms for trans people

Background: There are a spate of bills in the WA State Legislature seeking to block access to bathrooms for transgender people who have not had gender confirming surgery, such that we'd have to use the facilities of our birth, rather than expressed, gender.  This is wrong on a whole host of fronts.

I was asked by the Jewish Federation of Washington to testify against one of these bills.  My testimony follows.  For more information, please contact

Esteemed Senators, thank you for hearing me today. I am Rabbi Rona Matlow, a community rabbi in Olympia, a disabled veteran, counselor and transwoman.
I served our country for 22 years to preserve our rights and liberties. This bill in front of you, SB 6548, to be enforced, would require substantial violations of those rights and liberties.
In Deuteronomy, is taught “Do not put a stumbling block before the blind.” This is commonly understood to mean that we should not put additional hurdles in front of those already facing many.  This bill does just that.
There has never been a case of a transwoman attacking a ciswoman in a women’s room. However there have been plenty of cases of transwomen BEING attacked in men’s rooms, when forced to use them.
Our rabbis taught that if one saves a life, it is as if they had saved the world. Conversely, if one takes a life, it is as if one had destroyed the world.
Senators, this bill before you will put many citizens at risk, and not improve the safety of any. It is mean-spirited, and it violates the very Biblical tenets the bill’s sponsors claim to uphold.
In Leviticus, as well as in several other places, is taught “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I ask you, would you like to be forced to show your genitals to use the bathroom? Because that is what this bill would require, to be enforced. That is not loving your neighbor.
I urge you to save the world, by defeating this bill.  Please don’t make my years of service and related disabilities meaningless by nullifying the very rights and liberties I served so long to protect.
Thank you.

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