One week after HERO’s defeat, Dallas strengthens trans protections

Dallas would like the rest of the country to know that they aren’t Houston, updating their city’s non-discrimination ordinance to more clearly protect citizens based on their gender identity.

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

When the Dallas ordinance was approved, “gender identity” was erroneously included under the definition of “sexual orientation.” The ordinance prohibits discrimination citywide in employment, housing and public accommodations. On Tuesday, the council voted to list “gender identity and expression” separately alongside sexual orientation, and more clearly define the terms.

It also more specifically defines those terms, defining gender identity as “an individual’s real or perceived gender identity as male, female, both, or neither” and sexual orientation as “the actual or perceived status of an individual with respect to the individual’s sexuality.”

Dallas, via Wikimedia Commons

Dallas, via Wikimedia Commons

Dallas has had an equal rights ordinance that covers LGBT people, along with a host of other demographic groups, on the books since 2002. As Media Matters noted multiple times during the false, hate-driven campaign against HERO, not once had anyone in the city taken advantage of the ordinance to go into a bathroom they weren’t supposed to in order to harass or assault anyone. And, of course, it’s already illegal to sexually assault someone — regardless of whether you’re in a bathroom or elsewhere.

This being the case, Dallas’s city council felt it was wholly non-controversial to update the ordinance to specifically protect trans people, although that didn’t stop Texas Values, an organization involved with the campaign to defeat HERO, from crying rapist, worryingly noting that the language in Dallas’s update is “strikingly similar” to the protections included in HERO. The organization’s president, Jonathan Saenz, said that Dallas could expect a “Texas sized response” following the update’s approval.

Which would be a shame, because Dallas is planning a Texas sized LGBT tourism campaign, which could show by way of example that voting down non-discrimination ordinances a la HERO is not only bad morals; it’s bad business.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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