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Washington stands up to Texas over transgender protections

Flickr Photo/Elephant Gun Studios (CC BY-NC-ND)

Washington state has formally joined the legal debate over transgender bathroom-access.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a "friend of the court" briefing Wednesday asking the federal government to uphold its own guidelines over transgender rights.

That's after 11 other states, led by Texas, filed a lawsuit to try to block those guidelines in May.

A directive from the Obama Administration tells schools and employers to treat transgender people no differently than others. That includes allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity.

The states opposed to the guidelines say they have concerns about safety in bathrooms.

But Ferguson says those claims are unfounded. He says what is real is discrimination.

Ferguson: "I view a central component of my job is to uphold the civil rights of all Washingtonians, and in my view the lawsuit is another unacceptable example of the discrimination that transgender individuals experience."

Twelve states and Washington, D.C., have signed the friend of the court brief, including Washington, Oregon, California, and New York.

It was filed in U.S. District Court in Texas, Wednesday.