For many trans and gender non-conforming people, using gender separated public restrooms can be a highly stressful experience. On June 6th 2016, the City of Seattle passed an All-Gender Restroom Ordinance that mandates that all public single-occupancy bathrooms be open by people of any gender identity or sex. Signage should be present and indicate that the restroom is open to all genders.
If you find a public building in violation of this ordinance, file a complaint with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights:
For more details on this ordinance, please visit:
If you need support around this, reach out to Washington Safe Alliance
If you have a smartphone, download Refuge Restrooms to see all single-occupancy all-gender restrooms in your area:
Trans and gender-nonconforming people have a long history of having to advocate for ourselves due to the discrimination, prejudice and stigma we experience. We are worthy of dignity, respect, and a life free of discrimination and violence. Here are some tips for how we can advocate for ourselves when we feel we have been treated unjustly.
First, take a moment to assess for yourself:
- What do you want for yourself? What’s your goal in responding?
- How much energy do you want to invest in this?
Even though the discrimination you experienced is wrong, you do not have to challenge it, especially if you don’t feel safe, fear backlash, or feel too angry or upset to want to respond.
- What resources do you have for helping the situation change?
It can be draining to advocate for yourself. Do you have a self-care plan? Do you have friends or community members who can help you advocate?
- Who should you advocate to? In some cases, this might be directly to the person, in others it might be via more formal feedback or to a supervisor.
- Keep a log. It’s very helpful to be specific when making a request i.e. “I’ve been misgendered by the receptionist during my last three visits” is more effective than “I am always being misgendered here.”
- Express your needs rather than judgments of the person or organization i.e. “I need my housing to be safe for me” is often more effective that “You are being transphobic.”
This portion was Adapted from Self-Advocacy for Trans People (PDF)
How to Change Your Name in King County
File a Petition for Name Change with a clerk in a King County District Court. Bring your Photo ID. Effective October 9, 2015, the King County District Court fee for name changes is $171 cash only. Additional certified copies are $5 per copy.
For official instructions, visit: kingcounty.gov/courts/district-court/name-changes.aspx
How to Change Your Gender Designation on Your Driver’s License in Washington
Complete the “Change of Gender Designation Request” PDF form and pay a $10 fee for an updated card. The form requires a licensed physician to complete the second half, but does not require any specific gender-related or surgical treatment. If you need to find a physician to complete this form for you, please refer to the health clinic links.
For official instructions, visit: dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/genderchange.html
How to Change Your Birth Certificate in Washington
The State of Washington allows you to change your name and gender on your birth certificate without any requirements of clinical treatment. You must submit a letter with your personal contact information and a letter from your physician, or a certified court order of your correct name/gender.
For official instructions, visit: doh.wa.gov
How to Change Your U.S. Passport
Changing the gender marker on your passport is a similar process to changing your Washington State driver’s license, including a letter from your physician.
Changing your name on your existing passport requires providing a court order for name change.
For instructions on changing your U.S passport, check out this link.
For information on how to change your Social Security card, check out this link.
The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) protects trans people from violence, threats, and bullying in public school, and from discrimination based on gender expression or gender identity (actual or perceived) in:
- Public accommodations (such as restaurants, hotels, and public schools)
- Housing (renting, buying, selling)
- Employment in public workplaces, and private workplaces with 8+ employees
- Credit transactions (such as loans and credit cards)
- Insurance transactions (such as health insurance)
The Washington State Human Rights Commission (HRC) investigates civil rights complaints under WLAD.
On the county level, King County bans discrimination in places of public accommodation, housing, employment, and education. On the city level, both Seattle and Burien ban discrimination in places of public accommodation, housing, and employment.
If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination due to sex, gender, or gender identity/expression, legal advocates can help you to take legal action. Find out more about legal support services, or contact one of the offices on this page to initiate a complaint.
Information adapted from the ACLU of Washington State.