DART’s board of directors voted 6-5 tonight against adding transgender protections to the agency’s nondiscrimination policy, according to Rafael McDonnell, a spokesman for Resource Center Dallas who attended the meeting.
McDonnell said the DART board, acting as the committee of the whole, initially voted 6-5 to approve the proposal to add gender identity to DART’s nondiscrimination policy. But then one board member, Pamela Dunlop Gates of Dallas, switched her vote and asked DART attorneys to clarify definitions for “gender identity” and “genetic information,” another proposed addition to the policy.
McDonnell said Tuesday’s vote means the proposal must come back to the committee of the whole in June, after the attorneys come up with definitions. If approved by the committee of the whole, the proposal would then go to the regular board at a later date. McDonnell said a DART staff member characterized Tuesday’s negative vote to him as a “speed bump” or “a hiccup.”
“It doesn’t mean that it’s dead,” McDonnell said. “I wouldn’t even say that it means it’s on life support. It means it’s taking a little longer to go through the process. I’m disappointed in that. … I got up and told the board members, ‘I respect the fact that you have questions, here’s my phone number.'”
McDonnell also encouraged people in the LGBT community to get involved.
“We anticipated there would be some no votes,” he said. “I think if you live in the DART service area, you need to be contact your representative on the DART board and urge them to vote for it.”
The phone number for DART’s administrative offices is 214-749-3278. A list of board members by city can be found here.
The proposal to add trans protections to DART’s nondiscrimination policy came about after the agency was accused earlier this year of discriminating against a transgender bus driver.