Dallas City Council Strengthens Non-Discrimination Protections for Transgender PeopleBy Adam Polaski • November 10, 2015 • 2:27 pm
Today, November 10, the Dallas City Council voted unanimously to strengthen language of its LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance. The ordinance now specifically and separately lists “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” although Dallas residents have been protected from discrimination based on gender identity since 2002, when the ordinance originally passed.
Previously, the ordinance listed that people were protected from discrimination based on “an individual’s real or perceived orientation as heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual or an individual’s real or perceived gender identity.” Now, gender identity and sexual orientation are listed separately.
CBS DFW reports: “Omar Narvaez, a member of the Dallas LGBT Task Force says there’s no controversy surrounding the change — because the city’s 2002 ordinance already offered full protection against discrimination to the LGBT community. He says it’s making the words better reflect the rules. “It’s a simple clean-up of language. That’s all it is. It’s not adding any protections, it’s not taking away any protections. It’s leaving everything the way it is for 13 years in Dallas. It’s worked for 13 years in Dallas.”
Freedom for All Americans’ Executive Director Matt McTighe said today:
“Today’s vote reiterates the Dallas city council’s commitment to values of fairness and equality for all people, including the transgender community. Leading cities know that protecting their residents and workers from discrimination makes communities stronger and more welcoming for business. In the wake of last Tuesday’s disappointing vote in Houston, where thousands of residents who’d been covered by the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance were left more vulnerable to discrimination, we applaud the Dallas City Council for reaffirming their commitment to making their city a welcoming place for all people to live, work and raise their families. As we continue our work to educate Americans about what equal rights ordinances do and why they are so important, we know more cities will continue to join the ranks of Dallas, and fewer will go the way of Houston.” – Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans Executive Director
CBS DFW also spoke with Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman in Dallas, who explained the significance of the City Council move. She said, “I think to younger transgender kids that are now feeling it’s ok for the first time to come out and say who they are, it sends a real clear message to them that we are welcome, that they’re part of the community and that their identities are respected.”
The move today by the City Council of Dallas comes one week after LGBT opponents pushed through repeal of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, which protected residents from discrimination based on 15 different classes, including race, gender, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The Dallas vote represents the impact of the national conversation about why LGBT non-discrimination protections matter, underlining the need for continued education about the transgender community.