Anchorage Mother: Proposition 1 Puts My Family in Danger

By March 16, 2018Voices
Cathy Gillis grew up in the “Last Frontier State” – Alaska.  She fondly remembers many adventures of flying into bush Alaska with her father; fishing for wild salmon; hunting; and growing up in a community of people who are independent, strong, and unique.  Being an Alaskan is part of who Cathy is, and she remembers a simple lesson passed down to her by her mother and father when she was a child.
“Cathy, you have to work hard; be honest; and do good for others.  Love your neighbor.”
This guidance has informed Cathy’s identity for as long as she can remember, and it’s a mantra she has used in raising her own children.
“I chose to raise my family here so that my kids would have rich, abundant life experiences,” she says. Unfortunately, the upcoming election in Anchorage could threaten that life experience for one of her children — her transgender son.
Prop 1 is a ballot measure that would remove the nondiscrimination protections currently in place for transgender people, which have been in effect since 2015. Cathy says the prospect of these protections being repealed is terrifying to her family, and threatens the privacy and safety of potentially everyone in Anchorage.
“When people claim transgender people are a threat to public safety, my heart breaks. Singling out one part of our Anchorage community that looks different than the majority, or believes differently, or loves differently, is wrong.  It’s counter to love, and justice, and based solely on fear and misinformation. It is dangerous for my son and all transgender people.”
Since Anchorage’s current protections were passed in 2015, Cathy says she’s felt that her son is safer, and without them, he could face any number of difficult or dangerous situations. Furthermore, she is insistent that once voters can get past the fear-mongering from backers of Proposition 1, they’ll come to see that transgender people like her son are just like everyone else—and equally deserving of dignity and respect under the law.
“His gender identity does not affect his kindness; his work ethic; his compassion, and it shouldn’t affect his ability to live, work, and grow in the community he calls home.  Since Anchorage formalized a non-discrimination ordinance, I’ve been able to breathe a little easier. My kids are the loves of my life, and I want them to reach their potentials in a supportive community.”
Cathy feels as so many others in Anchorage do — that to single out one group, based simply on who they are as people, is wrong and shameful, and most certainly not an Alaskan value.
“It’s time to open our minds and our hearts to the real world; where we breathe the same air, move about in the same spaces, and do the best we can each day. My child, like every child, deserves the rights and protections that come with being a citizen of Anchorage.”
In the end, Cathy is hopeful that the people of Anchorage will do the right thing and continue to protect the rights of transgender people by voting No on Prop 1.
“This is a critical step in making sure that Anchorage remains an amazing place to raise a family.”