Push to add transgender protections to Orlando anti-discrimination laws

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Orlando – LGBT activists want the City of Orlando anti-discrimination policy amended to include protections for gender identity and expression.

Gina Duncan, transgender inclusion director for Equality Florida, is pushing for the changes to Chapter 57 which would protect transgender individuals from discrimination in housing, at the workplace, at financial institutions or when using public accommodations.

“Due to the current social climate and the pervasiveness of transgender inclusion, people are going back and adding gender identity and gender expression to their anti-discrimination laws and ordinances,” Duncan said. “This is simply adding gender identity and gender expression into the anti-discrimination policy for the City of Orlando.”

The changes were originally introduced a couple years back by the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Alliance. Duncan is now leading a push to finalize the amendments, with help from local LGBT activists. The wording has been drafted by the City Attorney and will go before the seven-person Chapter 57 Review Board June 19. All Chapter 57 Review Board members are non-elected officials, who advocate for the citizens of Orlando in the areas of human and civil rights.

After presenting the proposed amendment, the item will be submitted to the City Council, with a first reading possible for July 14. The policy change will then go through two different public hearings and a final vote.

“The knowledge and understanding of transgender people is increasing all the time,” Duncan said. “For the City of Orlando to be on the leading edge of inclusion and providing protections for transgender people — that they can come to work and be their authentic selves without the threat of being fired — is huge.”

Duncan is asking members of the community to contact their City Commissioners to express their support for their changes.

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