Last week, marathoner Kelly Herron’s morning run turned into a nightmare when she was assaulted in Golden Gardens Park. As she recounted on Instagram:
Four miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall. I fought for my life […] clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact.
After local media outlets picked up Kelly’s story, the fanatics trying to qualify Initiative 1552 to the ballot took notice and figured they could exploit what happened to Kelly to prey on the fears of gullible Washingtonians.
They sent out an email titled “Bathroom attack in Seattle” exhorting people to donate money and collect signatures to qualify I-1552 to the ballot. I-1552, a do-over of last year’s failed I-1515, would repeal rules passed by the Human Rights Commission that empower transgender individuals to use public washrooms and toilets consistent with their gender identity. It’s an awful, discriminatory measure that is opposed by a broad and diverse coalition of businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, and individuals.
When Kelly found out that I-1552 communications director Kaeley Triller Haver and her associates were using her story in an attempt to bolster their campaign, she was incensed, and is now demanding that they cease doing so and refund any contributions they received from their “Bathroom attack in Seattle” appeal. Kelly writes:
Last week I successfully defended myself against a violent sexual assault in a public restroom at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle […] 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, [expletive].” 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.
We salute Kelly for her tremendous courage — both in telling her story after being attacked and for publicly repudiating the I-1552 campaign after they used her story as the basis for fundraising pitches for their discriminatory initiative. If Kaeley Triller Haver and her associates have any respect for Kelly, they’ll accede to her demands — promptly.