The Seattle Times reported that on December 26, 2015, a regulation went into effect in Washington state that allows people to select restrooms, locker rooms and other like facilities according to their gender identity—not their physical anatomy.

According to the state Human Rights Commission the new regulation is actually a clarification of a 2006 state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The delay in clarification is attributed to Commission funding cuts.

Danni Askini, executive director of the Gender Justice League and a transgender woman believes that the new regulations could reduce assaults. If she were to use a men’s changing room, “I have no doubt I would be targeted,” she told the Times.

Opponents of the regulation fear that sexual predators may take advantage of the law and abuse unsuspecting women and girls in locker rooms and bathrooms. “The reality is there are sex predators,” said Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. “This is just a big welcome mat.”

State Rep. Graham Hunt, R-Orting, and other politicians have vowed to create bills that nullify the regulations.

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