Joseph Backholm who’s group is gathering signatures for Anti-Trans Petition Initiative I-1515 was recorded telling men to follow women into Restrooms if they refused to sign it.
Audio recordings were anonymously delivered to the Gender Justice League of Seattle. Joseph Backholm, the director of the Family Policy institute of Washington, who was directing signature gatherers who favor initiative-1515, to find supporters to sign the petition.
In the recordings, Backholm is heard to say: “For the gentlemen, what I would encourage you to do, if you are so bold and to make the point, take your petition and stand outside the women’s restroom at the mall. If any of the women don’t want to sign it, just go ahead and follow them in [laughter from crowd]. Maybe this will be a better time to sign our little petition, and we can make the point that way.”
Backholm told KIRO 7 he would not answer questions about his comments.
Local reporters rather incredulously ask if this was a joke. The laughter we hear is from of attendees who perhaps thought the proposal was made in jest. But we in the transgender community know that Backholm’s suggestion was no joke.
Danni Askini of the Seattle based Gender Justice group posted on facebook:
“Backholm’s statements are creepy and scary. It shows a clear disconnect with the lives of women who face harassment every day. Encouraging men to harass and stalk women in bathrooms is not a joke. Ever. It’s dangerous. Period. I have a great sense of humor – and you’re not funny.”
The Initiative I-1515 petition has gathered 25,000 signatures, according to their website, but that counter hasn’t moved in weeks. which is funny too. Perhaps a more apropos counter would tally the number of his petition gatherers arrested for illegally harassing women in bathrooms.
KIRO 7 reports that King County Sheriff John Urquhart heard the comments, and said what is jokingly suggested would be a violation of criminal trespass laws.
“I’m not going to be the moral arbiter of what’s funny and what isn’t funny,” Urquhart said. “I don’t know whether Backholm is serious or not. I think the bottom line is, if a signature gatherer follows a woman into a bathroom, he’s going to get arrested, at least by my deputies.”
The initiative would overturn a state regulation that took effect Dec. 26 to allow access to public and private facilities based on gender identity.
Instead, it would allow public and private entities to segregate bathrooms by “gender, as determined biologically or genetically at birth.”
The measure also would limit state and local lawmaking concerning gender identity, and enable lawsuits against public schools that allow a student’s gender identity to determine restroom use.
Backers have until July 8 to submit 246,372 registered voters’ signatures to make their goal of putting the initiative onto the November ballot.
The Olympian reports that at a different gathering Miriam Ben-Shalom, the TERF who was stripped of her 2016 Milwaukee Pride Grand Marshal title for her anti transgender views told the audience the initiative would protect women from “pretenders … these men who would self-identify (as transgender) to get into those spaces. How many children have to be hurt?”
She added that she didn’t want to be forced to shower with men, and said “anti-female politics” had driven the policy change the initiative would reverse.
More at Think Progress