Results from Gainesville, Fla., should embolden other cities to add transgender protections

Posted on 25 Mar 2009 at 7:56am

Voters in Gainesville, Fla., home to my alma mater, handily defeated an effort to repeal the city’s protections for LGBT people yesterday. Although it is situated in otherwise conservative North Florida, Gainesville is a college town and has been gay-friendly for decades, including when I went to school there in the mid-1990s. But a right-wing group sought to repeal the protections after transgender people were added last year. The group’s slogan was “vote yes on Amendment 1 to keep men out of women’s restrooms.” The scare tactic didn’t work, and the amendment was defeated by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent. Hopefully, this will embolden other cities and states nationwide, including Dallas, to add gender identity to existing protections for LGB people without fear of losing what’s already in place. As I’ve reported previously, transgender people are protected under one of Dallas’ two gay-rights ordinances in a roundabout way, but not under the other.

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