A woman attacked in a public restroom has spoken out against transphobes who are trying to exploit her story to pass “bathroom bill” anti-trans legislation.
Kelly Herron, a marathoner, was attacked by a man in a Golden Gardens bathroom last week. The assailant, a sex offender named Gary Steiner, attempted to rape Herron, but she successfully fended him off.
Steiner never claimed to be trans, but that didn’t stop anti-LGBTQ activists from trying to exploit the story to promote an anti-trans ballot initiative called Just Want Privacy.
But Herron is not having it. She lashed out against Just Want Privacy’s supporters in a public statement, quoted in The Stranger:
Last week I successfully defended myself against a violent sexual assault in a public restroom at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle, yelling “not today, mutherf*cker!” But I’m more upset now than I have been all week after seeing that a political group is using my face, my name and my story to fundraise for I-1552, a ballot initiative that deliberately targets and harms transgender people – including friends whom I respect.
To the people behind I-1552, I say “not today, mutherf*ckers.” I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others.
All of us, including transgender people, are concerned about safety in restrooms or any place where we’re isolated and alone. But the fact is I-1552 would not have done one thing to prevent the attack on me. It’s already illegal to enter a restroom or locker room to harm someone, period.
I-1552’s backers say it is supposed to protect women and children from attack, but this initiative is an invitation for abuse and harassment because under this law men could demand to see a woman’s ID with her name and home address, or otherwise force her to prove her gender before allowing her to enter a public restroom.
I-1552’s backers use fear mongering to justify singling out one group, transgender people, for discrimination. I strongly oppose their efforts to repeal Washington State’s decade-old protections against discrimination for our transgender friends, family and co-workers. I demand they immediately refund any money raised using my image, my name, and my story, and I demand Just Want Privacy immediately issue a public retraction.
Just Want Privacy campaigners posted a response on Facebook:
Just Want Privacy’s page still lists many other incidents in which cis men attacked women.
(Header image via Facebook)