Protests are about care, not hatred


Hunter Saline

The original protest was to counter SB 5599. They organized on the steps of the capitol building and spoke up.

On April 21, 2023, Olympia’s capitol building witnessed another protest. A group of about 100 protesters demanded the removal of a bill allowing minors to seek shelter away from home from discussion. On the other side of the lot were around 150 counter-protesters. Neither side was hateful.


Bill SB5599 states in Section 1 that it “intends to remove barriers to accessing temporary, licensed shelter accommodations for youth seeking certain protected health care services.” Its controversy is due to its effect on transgender youth. They may utilize the permissions in this bill to seek gender-affirmation care and safe houses. 


“This just allows for kids to run away to youth shelters or host homes and those facilities don’t have to contact the parents,” states Anthony Mixer, a conservative at the rally.


The bill has been proposed to counteract the increasing number of minors who are homeless or committing suicide. Namely in the trans community. It would provide protections such as emergency housing for all minors with protections against their family.


“We’re protesting against SB5599 which restricts parental rights of their kids,” says Scott Stevenson, a Washington 3-percenter protesting the bill. A common thought among the protesters was that their kids are in danger due to lack of parental consent. However, counter-protesters argued the opposite. Claiming that the rights of children should be expanded to avoid future problems such as those which prompted the bill.


Orion, a counter-protester states “I’m a firm believer that both sides are allowed to make their noise and we shouldn’t be spreading hate. We need to be able to see what both sides of the fence are leaning towards.” Neither side wanted the other to be muted forcefully. At this protest, a liberal spokesperson advocated for the use of teargas. They were quickly taken down by their audience.

Counter-protesters made their voices heard through megaphones and music. (Hunter Saline)

Ray, a student counter-protester remarked that “to have youth come out here, and protest about what’s going on over there is really important. It shows that there’s actual youth here.” Though most attending were adults, a few teens did show up. Almost all of them advocated for SB 5599

. When asked what it’s like being a student protestor, Julian Gabbard, organizer of the counter-protest and the Abolish OSD movement says “It’s a stressful life, but a good one. It’s something that needs to be done because if I don’t do it, no one else will.”


The greatest misconception about both sides shows a stark divide in communication. Stevenson clarifies that “The greatest misconception is that we hate trans people, which is not true. We understand that there are trans people and that this isn’t a fabricated thing. We’re here to ensure that our children aren’t forced to have these things told to them.” Julian Gabbard says it’s that “trans people are grooming people and youth into becoming transgender.”


Protests and counter-protests serve the purpose of saying something. Words that are said and arguments that are debated drive democracy. Although it can be nerve-racking, participate in the causes you care about. Without something being said, nothing will be done.