While the city already defined sexual orientation to include gender identity and expression, the revision would explicitly include transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in the city’s charter. The council will also vote to add language explicitly allowing a person to determine their gender based on their perception of their gender.
Additionally the council will also vote to encourage all entities to not deny services to individuals, even if they are exempt from the nondiscrimination ordinance. The proposed changes also include removing a provision allowing property owners to deny renting rooms 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The proposal comes just a week after Houston voters repealed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which opponents called the “bathroom ordinance.”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.”