Washington Won’t Discriminate rallied and successfully fought off I-1515, the attempt to repeal Washington’s transgender non-discrimination laws. Now, they’re highlighting three families who would be deeply impacted if Washington’s longstanding transgender non-discrimination protections were repealed at the ballot box this fall. The mother of one of those families is our very own Betsy White, President of the Board for INBA Outreach, the philanthropic arm of Inland Northwest Business Alliance.
From Washington Won’t Discriminate, here’s the story of Betsy’s family:
BETSY & HER DAUGHTER, RACHEL | SPOKANE
Betsy remembers it was her daughter Rachel’s second day of kindergarten when she “got the call every parent dreads.” The vice principal was on the line. Rachel had “just said something incredibly disturbing,” and Betsy needed to come in right away for a discussion.
“So there I was, waiting in anticipation when the vice principal pulls me in and tells me, ‘Your child told their teacher: ‘I have a secret, I am going to be a girl when I grow, please call me she.’ What do you expect me to do about this?”
Betsy was taken aback, but she didn’t hesitate to stand up for Rachel: “Well, call her ‘she’ then.”
When she got home, Betsy searched the Internet for answers, and soon found what she was looking for. Rachel was transgender, though it took a little more digging at the library for her to come to a full understanding of what that meant.
One statistic shocked her: Transgender people are 10 times more likely than members of the general public to attempt suicide—a statistic that’s driven in part by the fact that transgender people experience more discrimination, harassment and violence just because of who they are.
There was no question that Betsy and her husband would support their daughter in living as the girl she knew herself to be, but after seeing that statistic, they quickly realized there was no other option.
“So there I was, waiting in anticipation when the vice principal pulls me in and tells me, ‘Your child told their teacher: ‘I have a secret, I am going to be a girl when I grow, please call me she.’ What do you expect me to do about this?” –Betsy, Spokane
“I shared everything I was learning with my husband and we learned pretty quickly: we could bury our son or we could support our daughter.”
Both Betsy and her husband had difficult childhoods, and they vowed that things would be different for their daughter. That could have been difficult since, according to Betsy, they live in an area of the state where many transgender people stay “hidden” because of the fear of discrimination.
But she and her husband have tried hard to ensure that isn’t the case for Rachel—and the fact that Washington has transgender non-discrimination protections have really helped them make the best life possible for their daughter.