Letter writer asked for reason to oppose Prop. 1; here's mine
This is for Elaine Pheiffer of Eagle River, who asked in a letter on Feb. 21 if anyone can address the issue of fear of predatory heterosexual men using the cover of transgender to enter women's restrooms and do harm. Though I know that I am going to vote no on Prop. 1, I appreciated Elaine's candor and thoughtfulness, and wanted to come up with a way to answer. I tried, and could not, until tonight.
I just came from the True Value Hardware store on Jewel Lake, where I have traded since I moved here 20 years ago. Earlier in the day I had taken a floor lamp into the store to ask about a replacement part. I had planned to find a how-to video on YouTube and try to fix the lamp myself, but was told that if I just left the lamp, the store employees would be happy to fix it for me when they had time. The lamp was repaired, and I just walked out with it with a feeling of such gratitude and good will, of neighborliness. And as I was driving home I thought about all the things we cannot do … we cannot stop the bombing in Syria … we cannot ease the pain of the students and staff in Parkland, Florida … we cannot do so many things that make us feel sad and helpless. But we CAN be kind to one another in our daily lives.
We can choose to be good neighbors, every day. And I say to Elaine, when you vote, consider that yes, perhaps the passage of Prop. 1 could lead to a criminal mind taking advantage of it. No one can promise that it will not. But think of the daily lives of a whole segment of our population, all of the transgender men, women, teens and young children in Anchorage, who want and deserve, like everyone else, to get through each day grateful for good neighbors and small kindnesses. Please consider replacing fear with hope and good will.
— Jeanne Ashcraft
Prop. 1 tackles nonexistent ill
We all want to keep Anchorage safe. We all know Anchorage is stronger because of its diversity and that there's no room here for discrimination. Fortunately, there's no reason to feel pressured to choose between safety and equality, despite what Proposition 1 implies. The reality is, Prop. 1 is an attempt to fix a problem that doesn't exist. Harassing or assaulting someone in a public restroom is already illegal, and there's no data to support the idea that anti-discrimination laws make women like me less safe. Prop. 1, on the other hand, would increase discrimination by sending a clear message that transgender people aren't welcome here simply because of who they are.
It's easier to worry about the actions of a particular demographic when you don't have a personal connection, so I'm encouraging you now: Get to know some trans people. Read their words online, if you don't know where to start. See them as individuals, not one faceless part of a seemingly threatening crowd. Some of the strongest, kindest, most thoughtful, and most hardworking people I know are trans, but even if they weren't, they'd still deserve to participate in public life just like anybody else.
— Kyra Sherwood
Fake news or fake president?
Trump tells us that reports of Russian meddling in the 2016 election are "fake news"; now, with real Russians facing multiple felony charges, I wonder if we elected a "fake president."
— Ken Flynn
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