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

Amy Radil / / KUOW

The battle over restroom and locker room access for transgender people has come to Washington state. Critics of the state’s open access policy are gathering signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot.

A new rule that lets transgender people in Washington choose whether to use the men’s or women’s facilities will stand -- for now. The state Senate Wednesday afternoon narrowly defeated an effort to repeal the rule.

Allowing transgender people access to the restroom or locker room of their choice stirs strong feelings. Advocates on both sides of that debate packed a hearing room in Olympia Wednesday.

Patricia Murphy / KUOW

Four years after the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Department of Defense is preparing to lift the ban on transgender service in the military.

Last summer Secretary of Defense Ash Carter formed a working group to study the particulars of what needs to be done to move forward.

As the Pentagon considers the change, practically speaking transgender service members have to walk a fine line between regulations and their identity.