I received a report this weekend, and I will state right up front, as of this writing, it is not a verified report. But it doesn’t need to be because the situation, if it did not occur on Friday in the Mat-Su, it will at some point in the near future. A woman reached out to me concerned for the privacy and safety of women and young teenage girls who work out at health and fitness clubs and gyms and use the locker rooms. She reported a man had entered the women’s locker room this past Friday at one of these facilities in the Valley and “undressed and showered to the shock and embarrassment of the women in that locker room.”

We need to draw a line in the sand sooner rather than later on this issue. It gets more ridiculous every day. The national debate, and now the same debate here at the state levels, seems to be getting us nowhere fast, unfortunately. My read is that our state law does not currently address this issue. The only way we can fix it is if we change the minds of the Senate Majority leadership who have stated bills on topics such as this will not advance to the floor.

It’s time for common sense. It’s time for sanity and privacy when it comes to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers. It’s time for Alaskans to speak up! It’s time for us to rally for privacy and safety.

Getting this issue addressed in our laws, by our courts, or by our Alaska Human Rights Commission is not going to be easy. Let’s walk through each option.

Now the question is, can we fix our law? We could if we had the votes and the political will. Our state senate, however, shifted drastically to the left after the last election…

As far as our state statutes, AS 18.80.230(b) specifies that “a physical fitness facility may limit public accommodation to only males or only females to protect the privacy interests of its users.” Unfortunately, it goes on to say nothing about bathrooms, showers, locker rooms, etc. Instead, it continues with the following: “Public accommodation may be limited under this subsection only to those rooms in the facility that are primarily used for weight loss, aerobic, and other exercises, or for resistance weight training. Public accommodation may not be limited under this subsection to rooms in the facility primarily used for other purposes, including conference rooms, dining rooms, and premises licensed under AS 04.11. This subsection does not apply to swimming pools or golf courses.” Unless I missed something in my research, neither our laws nor their accompanying regulations address this issue.

Now the question is, can we fix our law? We could if we had the votes and the political will. Our state senate, however, shifted drastically to the left after the last election, and the Senate Majority has stated on repeated occasions that it will not advance legislation on social issues to the floor. This is frustrating and troubling. I plan to make a stink about it. If the public would make a stink about it too, maybe, just maybe, pressure would mount, and the Senate Majority would come to its senses.

What about our courts – could they be helpful? Perhaps, if we had a balanced judiciary branch, we could go to court and our privacy clause in the constitution might be enough to get a ruling that we each have a right to privacy based on our biological sex in bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. Unfortunately, our courts are not balanced at present (see Why is Lady Justice’s Blindfold Slipping in Alaska?) and it is sadly highly unlikely we would get such a ruling.

I wish I had better news and a more immediate fix, but this is the world in which we live. We must bring back sanity and common sense.

Unfortunately, the Alaska Human Rights Commission is not helpful in this arena either. At first the response below seems like it might settle the matter at least for employees but then it makes an allowance and provides no precedent for protection for a situation like the one at the fitness club. Here’s the text from their guide:

“Does an employer have the right to have separate, sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, or showers for men and women?

Yes. Courts have long recognized that employers may have separate bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers for men and women, or may choose to have unisex or single-use bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. Employers may not deny an employee equal access to a bathroom, locker room, or shower that corresponds to the employee’s gender identity. In other words, if an employer has separate bathrooms, locker rooms, or showers for men and women, all men (including transgender men) should be allowed to use the men’s facilities and all women (including transgender women) should be allowed to use the women’s facilities.”

We can also keep our eyes on the national scene for efforts to address this. The US House would likely be on board, but the US Senate would be a tough sell. And if by some miracle, the U.S. Senate passed legislation, the chance of a presidential veto is high. On the other hand, I think if the right case made its way to the US Supreme Court, a sensible ruling could settle this matter.

We shouldn’t wait however for this to be addressed nationally. We should do what we can do here in Alaska even though addressing this issue at the state level will not be easy. The task at hand is to convince the Senate Majority to agree this issue needs to be fixed in law. That will take Alaskans standing up with a clear and loud voice. I stand ready to help make it happen if such a rally occurs.

I wish I had better news and a more immediate fix, but this is the world in which we live. We must bring back sanity and common sense. If good people are quiet, nothing will change.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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OPINION: Sen. Hughes says unverified report of Mat-Su man in women’s locker room points to larger issues

Shelley Hughes
Shelley Hughes serves as an Alaska state senator from Palmer.


  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    The gym I work out at has a sign at the women’s locker room door asking moms of boys older than toddler to please not being them into the women’s locker room but to use one of the private bathrooms. Hence I am speculating a man, regardless of what he thinks he is or wants to be, attempting to use the women’s locker room will meet with some assertive resistance.

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    Thank you, Senator Hughes. Someone needs to name names. Who are the elitists who want to help break up families in our state? These liars and deceivers in the Senate Majority believe wrongly that they are the ones who grant rights. The Government (in this case legislators stuck on themselves and their so-called power) does NOT grant any rights. The Government (legislators) have no RIGHT to grant ANYTHING. The Government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. The government (legislature) has PRIVILEGES granted to it by the PEOPLE of Alaska. The legislators SERVE the people not the other way around. The Constitution was written to PROTECT the PEOPLE’s Rights from the Government (Legislators and Judges), and to tell the Government (Legislators) what privileges WE THE PEOPLE OF ALASKA grant IT!!!!! This all can be learned in CIVICS 101 which is no longer taught in high school. Question: Which legislators can be quoted for their determination to pervert the children without parents to protect those children? Usually the wicked will hide and stay out of the limelight. This is truly wickedness with “gender dysphoria” in charge. When I was young Sodomy was illegal. Look what happens when it is not illegal. This is an aggressive group of viciims.

  • Dorothy says:

    We must return to concentrating on the basics being taught in school – especially at the elementary level. Try it and see if test scores improve.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    I am beyond disgusted and take absolutely no confidence in ms hughes as she looks to be a front of the pack hero on this ludicrous issue! Beyond words where only actions are needed!!! Shut the hell up and put your “influential finger in the chest of our worthless AG appointed by our worthless governor! My God!!!

    • John H Slone says:

      Do me a big favor and take your disgust and your person to California where you would be welcomed with open arms and open showers, bathrooms, etc.!!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    The left is going to keep hitting us with one disgusting issue after another. They want us to tire out and just give up. Parasites are difficult to get rid of – especially when there is a heavy infestation. We’ll get one round of parasites knocked down and then another batch will hatch and we’ll have another infestation. This is going to continue until all of the parasite eggs have hatched and we have handled each round. Thank you Rep. Hughes for giving people the heads up on these multiple issues. This needs to be dealt with on a local level, but we must never loose sight of what is happening on a national level!

  • Lucinda says:

    Gawd Hughes, have some integrity. You admit you don’t know it happened; responsible reasonable community members would wait to post until there is something to complain about.

    Instead you foment division. On purpose. It’s way beneath your standards.

    • Amber says:

      Lucinda, Senator Hughes even told me personally that she would be saying “unconfirmed report” because at the time the fitness center where it happened had not put out an official statement and was still investigating the incident. I don’t fault her for her choice of words for the time being. But since I was the one who reported it to her, I can confirm that it DID IN FACT happen. I am giving the fitness center ample amount of time to deal with this in a manner that protects the women who were victims of this sexual harassment…..but should they choose to side with the perpetrator instead of with the women whose rights to privacy and protection have been invaded, I WILL be coming forward and publicly testifying about this incident.

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        Amber please testify as to the truth! Please also recognize that these legislators are now known to be impotent in regards to changing anything with the exception of giving themselves pay raises which get enacted as fast as they think of it! The important place to make your comments is in the face of our reluctant governor! He can stop this nonsense!!! The buck stops at his feet, and he has the authority to stop that same buck from supporting perverse actions!!!

    • Doug glenn says:

      Lucinda or Lucifer as you should be called keep your serpents mouth shut until you have facts.

      • Lucinda says:

        Mr Doug. That’s what I’m asking of Hughes: keep your mouth shut until you have the facts.

  • Akdale says:

    glad it happened. it highlights the sheer stupidity and lost state of our culture. we are celebrating a mental health crisis and decline of morality. its masked as compassion and true religion. laws will not change hearts. the real battle is fought in prayer and inside your church. if you dont see that, your fighting a losing war.

    • Lucinda says:

      Unless you’re an atheist and free of all this religious nonsense.

      • DoneWithIt says:

        if I EVER see a shemale exiting, or hear about a betamale, exiting a women’s restroom where my wife and saughters work out – there will be a BIG problem.
        Big Problem.
        None of this TrannieBS will stop until the Men make it clear that this will not be tolerated.

      • Tamra Nygaard says:

        Yes, dear, we already know you have no ethics, morals or other tendrils holding you to civilization. Feel free to wander naked through the mens’ locker room next time you go to work out. I’m sure that will go over nicely.

    • Doug glenn says:

      It’s nothing to be glad about now is it ?? Some unsuspecting women and young girls go to the gym then get accosted by some pervert. How is that great you a hole. I suspect your a spineless mouth piece. All talk and no action.

  • Tamra Nygaard says:

    I’m unclear on why this behavior is not already illegal. I believe public nudity laws would cover this situation nicely. Rather than pass more laws, perhaps we could enforce the ones we already have.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Matt Walsh post on twitter: A trans EMT tried to use his medical training to prove that sex is not binary. He ran into trouble when I asked him how he’d respond to a patient with a penis who claims he’s having a miscarriage.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    I guess our last resort in this obnoxious fight for any sense of normalcy, is some of our legislative power houses are now willing to “make a stink”! Question: where have you been???

  • Lucinda says:

    Tamra: I’ve said this before: It really pisses me off that you think I have no morals because I’m an atheist. In my entire life I have given more than I have taken. Your holier-than-thou arrogance diminishes you.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Lucinda sorry to inform you but this concept of atheism you promote, it’s godless therefore logically it’s absent of morals, there is no such thing as right and wrong, no morals! Your not good , your not bad! You just are?????!

    • Lucinda says:

      You are not well educated on the subject of atheism.

    • Lucinda says:

      I do not PROMOTE atheism like religionists do. Don’t need to swell the ranks. My motivation to chastise Christians is that supernaturally-based decisions are dangerous to society

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Echoing the lefty talking points, “…dangerous to society” The left says it enough they believe that it will become embedded in people’s minds and people will automatically think this and believe it. I have heard the plan. People who are awake know the plan also. The lefty plan will not work because society and the world are waking up to the plan and we reject the lefty plan. God bless the humanity-loving people of this world and give them the endurance to keep proclaiming truth for as long as our Heavenly Father requires us to keep proclaiming the truth.

    • Doug glenn says:

      Everything has a beginning and an end it’s very ignorant to not recognize that. Even if you evolved from an ape the ape had to start somewhere. Absolutely a waste of time to argue with her or it. Lucinda grows horns about everything I have noticed. Everything it speaks is twisted. It must sit all day on line waiting to attack, quite a life Lucinda has. Not.

  • Dalton Stokes says:

    it’s not unverified. my wife saw that thing with her eyeballs and almost threw up…

  • Bud Light Just Went There says:

    I’m waiting for women to start running around in the men’s locker room. That way I’d start hitting the gym more often.

  • Lucinda says:

    /’“Actual groomer: Republican donor convicted of sex trafficking teenagers” Lazzaro was connected to many elected Republicans in Minnesota, including then-Minnesota state Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan. Carnahan, who was already facing pressure for a terrible workplace culture, resigned shortly after Lazzaro’s arrest.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Senator Hughes, this is not on the alphabet soup topic, but still part of the entire world narrative. Please watch this interview between a well-known journalist and a WHO whistleblower.

  • Doug glenn says:

    My tolerance of this crap is 0. We are talking 1/10th of 1% of the population causing this much misery. What do you think would have happened 30 years ago if a man dressed like a woman walked into a woman’s locker room. ..?? It demonstrates no respect for women in general.

  • Larry Wood says:

    Sen. Hughes, the reason that women’s dressing room is not included is, because who in their right mind would have believed that a sane and moral man would simply walk into a female privacy area in a business premises, and undress? The applicable statutes are AS 11.41.458 and 460. It is a violation of the law to expose oneself. Merely a Class B misdemeanor if the person witnessing the act is over 16, and a class A misdemeanor if under 16, but such an act is an offense. The misdemeanor needs to go away to a class C felony at least with a 3 day mental institution evaluation. AS 11.41.458 raises the classification to a class B felony if there is a juvenile under 16 who witnesses the act. If 460 is raised to a class C felony, a provision needs to be made if the individual committing the act is under the influence of behavior altering drugs or alcohol and it is determined that they would not be that stupid when sober.