DART board could vote on adding transgender protections to nondiscrimination policy in May

Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Board of Directors could vote as early as May on a proposal to add transgender protections to the agency’s employment nondiscrimination policy, spokesman Morgan Lyons said Thursday, March 18.

Lyons’ announcement followed a meeting Tuesday between DART officials and representatives from Resource Center Dallas, in response to a recent controversy involving a transgender bus driver.

DART attempted to intervene in a family court case to oppose the employee’s gender-marker change, prompting an outcry from LGBT activists, who’ve voiced their concerns at two consecutive board meetings.

Lyons said a proposal to add gender identity and expression to the agency’s nondiscrimination policy, which already includes sexual orientation, will be presented to the board’s Diversity and Economic Opportunity Committee in April.

“There’s a process we’ll have to go through,” Lyons said. “The first step for us in April will be to brief the committee and get them up to speed.”

DART staff will then return to the committee in May with a recommendation, Lyons said. If the committee approves the recommendation, the proposed policy change could go to the full board by the end of that month.

Lyons added that any corresponding expansion of diversity training for DART employees is pending.

“The policy review is really the first step,” he said.

On Tuesday, two top DART officials met with representatives from Resource Center Dallas to discuss amending the nondiscrimination policy, expanding diversity training and other issues.

On Wednesday, the RCD representatives said they were cautiously optimistic.

“We’re hopeful, and we’ll remain vigilant,” said Cece Cox, RCD’s associate executive director over GLBT programs. “Those two people in the meeting were supporters [of the policy change] but they’re not the only two deciders in the organization.”

The DART officials who attended the meeting were Kriss Ann Gamez, director of diversity and EEO; and Ben Gomez, executive vice president for administration.

Cox was joined by Rafael McDonnell, RCD’s strategic communications and programs manager; and Marla Compton, program coordinator for Gender Education, Advocacy and Resources (GEAR).

—  John Wright