Petition urges DART to add trans protections

Pamela Dunlop Gates was one of three board members appointed by the city of Dallas who voted to delay the decision.
Pamela Dunlop Gates was one of three board members appointed by the city of Dallas who voted to delay the decision.

Looks like someone has posted a petition over at Change.org titled, “Urge Dallas Area Rapid Transit to Add Gender Identity to Nondiscrimination Policies.” The petition had 126 signatures as of this morning. You can sign it by going here.

As we reported last week, DART’s Board of Directors voted 6-5 to delay a decision on adding transgender protections, after some members requested additional information from the agency’s attorneys. (Yes, the same attorneys who created this whole mess by sticking their noses in a transgender employee’s family court case.) The board will take up the matter again June 15.

Voting to delay the decision were DART board members Pamela Dunlop Gates, Bill Velasco, Bob Strauss, Ray Noah, Mark Enoch and Loretta Ellerbe. Interestingly, Dunlop Gates, Velasco and Strauss all represent the city of Dallas, which has included gender identity in a nondiscrimination ordinance for the last eight years.

Noah represents Addison, Highland Park, Richardson and University Park; Enoch represents Farmers Branch, Garland and Rowlett; and Ellerbe represents Plano.

Contact information is noticeably absent from board members’ bio pages on the DART website, but I’m told you can try to reach them by calling 214-749-3278.

—  John Wright

DART board votes down transgender protections, will consider them again in June

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.

—  John Wright