Dallas City Council approved language adding gender identity and gender expression to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance with a unanimous vote this morning (Tuesday, Nov. 10).
Supporters noted the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance already includes gender identity and gender expression in its definition of sexual orientation. But as LGBT Task Force member Patti Fink noted in a speech before the council, the revision removes any doubt by explicitly including transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in its protections.
Rafael McDonnell, Resource Center’s communications and advocacy manager, told the council the revisions were necessary since the language had not been updated since 2002.
The new language included provisions strictly declaring that only the individual may determine their gender “based on their perception of their gender.” Other changes included provisions encouraging entities to not deny services to individuals even if they are exempt from the nondiscrimination ordinance and removing a provision allowing property owners to refuse room rentals to same-sex couples if the property includes shared facilities.
The proposal comes just a week after Houston voters repealed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which opponents called the “bathroom ordinance.” The ordinance woulds have provided protections based on 15 classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents seized on the transgender protections, arguing HERO would allow “men into women’s bathrooms.”