Dear Principal: If the bathroom bill passes, will you have my daughter’s back?

From: Marlo Mack
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2017 10:11 AM
To: Principal F.
Subject: Initiative 1552

Dear Principal F.,

I’ve been meaning to get in touch for a while to check in about Initiative 1552, the latest “bathroom bill” that is currently in the signature-gathering phase.  I’ve heard it is likely to get enough signatures to get on the ballot this fall.  I’d like to think that Washington State voters would easily reject such a law, but I never thought Donald Trump would get elected to the presidency, so I’m trying to brace myself for the worst.

Were Initiative 1552 to pass, M. would be prohibited from using the girls’ bathroom at school and would instead be required by law to use the boys’ bathroom or a separate bathroom, such as the nurse’s bathroom or a staff bathroom.  Using the boys’ bathroom is obviously out of the question, and I feel strongly that it is equally unthinkable to segregate my daughter by requiring her to use a different facility from every other child at school. Doing so would not only cause her to feel singled out and punished, it would also certainly draw attention to her, very possibly leading to her being outed as transgender to the other children. (Note from gendermom: My daughter is very private about being trans, and has only told a handful of her closest friends at school, for fear of being teased and bullied if more kids find out.)

As I’m sure you know, the initiative would put schools in a tricky position.  If a parent learned that their child had been in the girls’ restroom with a transgender girl, that parent could sue the school.

What I’m looking for is some sense from you as to what the school would do if 1552 were to become state law this fall.  Would M. still be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom?  If a parent complained and sued the school, how would this affect M.?  Since quite a few children (and their parents) now know that M. is transgender, it’s certainly possible that a parent could find out and decide to take action.

I also need you to know that I am completely opposed to M. being asked to use an alternative bathroom, even for a limited time.  If this were asked of her, I would not feel comfortable sending her to school and would have to make alternative arrangements for her.  As the end of the school year draws near, this is weighing on my mind more and more, so I thought I would ask, in hopes of getting some reassurances from you.

I am so grateful for all the support the school has given us, and I’m sure we can face this next challenge together, as well.  Thank you for working with us and learning with us.


A week later, I got a response from Principal F., expressing a commitment to keeping my child safe at school and the school district’s commitment to supporting its transgender students.

This is all good, of course, but doesn’t really answer my question: Will my daughter be kicked out of the girls’ bathroom if this heinous law passes?  

The reply:  The district was consulting its legal team. “We are in conversation about the ‘what if’s,’ but details are not yet clear.”

I continue to hold my breath.  

Anyone have advice on homeschooling? 


This is an actual sign posted outside the girls’ bathroom at my daughter’s school. I like these rules. And they seem to be working: My transgender daughter has never had a problem using the girls’ bathroom at her school. Maybe we should show this sign to the “bathroom bill” people and suggest they make some revisions to their initiative?

Full text of Initiative 1552 

Join the fight against it.

My podcast episode about the fight against last year’s bathroom bill.




12 thoughts on “Dear Principal: If the bathroom bill passes, will you have my daughter’s back?

  1. Marlo, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for both of you that the school will turn out to be supportive, and that they will let you know soon so M can look forward to the next school year.

  2. Unfortunately the school will not be able to do much.
    I speak from experience as my daughter abruptly was dis-allowed the use of the girls bathroom after HB2 passed in NC. Mind you she had been using it for 2 years with ZERO issues.

    Start looking for private schools, or a homeschooling co-op.
    But most of all: work your butt off with the General Assembly to get people on your side in case it does gets on the ballot.

    • Yes, I do plan to fight the initiative to the bitter end. I’m not giving up by any means – just planning for the worst, just in case. I’m so sorry your daughter has had to go through this in NC.

  3. This was so thought provoking. I really hope the bill doesn’t pass.

    I’m an Indian and know for a fact that all transgenders in this country are treated as outcastes so there is no question of them letting anyone know about the fact that they’re trans. They won’t get jobs, being disowned by their family, friends society, etc.

    If your daughter had the courage to come out to you and you’ve been supporting her to the fullest, kudos to that.

  4. Gendermom: I am truly hoping for an outcome in Washington that reflects an understanding and a respect for transgender kids. Clearly there are a lot of mean-spirited and hurtful people out there like the first commenter, but they ultimately will not prevail. They are on the losing side of history. You know this better than anyone else, all you can do is be strong, stand up for what is right, and love your child unconditionally. I have faith that it will turn out well.

  5. Remember that in Washington the legal status quo is that transgender people have the right to use the bathroom that matches their identity. It is a higher bar to take rights away than to get the law to acknowledge rights that weren’t acknowledged previously. Even if I-1552 passes, I expect AG Fergusson to sue for a stay, and then work to get the court to overrule it.

  6. There is a single parent homeschooling support group on Facebook (closed group) you might find some useful information there.
    I also hope this bill doesn’t pass. Fight the good fight mama, you are inspiring and your daughter is so lucky to have such an advocate.

  7. I really hope that this bill doesn’t move up on the ballot or get passed. Although I am from Canada and we have different laws regarding bathrooms and Transgender safety, everyday is still a battle and I am so glad to know that you as a parent are ensuring that M. is kept safe and comfortable! Recently my sibling came out as Trans* and while supporting her, I know that I can’t ensure her safety all of the time. Thank you for doing so much!

  8. gendermom:
    I also had concerns about the effects of I-1552, as I live in Washington….. Then I got to thinking about it, and the bills wording. Even if it were to pass, it would still not change anything. You see, they are attempting to create a law that would take away an y, and all protections for those of us that are transgender. Problem is, is that those laws are ensconced in the state constitution, and can not be changed without a “Constitutional Referendum”, a completely different type of legislation. To do what they want? they’d first need to change the state constitution removing ALL the wording dealing with descrimination, then replacing it with wording that would contain a whole bunch of “except for transgender”, which would make their discrimination exceptionally clear to everyone…. Something I don’t see happining, since they would need a super-majority (over 60%) to pass….. Since the wording in the constitution as it currently reads? was already passed by a 60% super-majority in 2006.

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