Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bloomington Moves Step Closer To Transgender Inclusion

The Bloomington City Council moved one step closer last night to adding "gender identity" coverage to its human rights code, which already includes "sexual orientation. The AP reports:

The City Council has given preliminary approval to adding protections for transgender people to the city's human rights ordinance.

Bloomington is a diverse community, said Councilman David Sabbaugh, a co-sponsor of the amendment. "I'm very happy to support this thing," he said.

Supporters of the change want to see city code treat "gender identity" as a category protected against discrimination, just like race, religion, disability or sex.

Eight people spoke in favor of the amendment at a council meeting Wednesday, while seven spoke against it.

Bree Hartlage said other transgender people have been fired, harassed or hide their past in an effort to find a job. "What a sad testimony this is to our society," she said.

William Scott questioned where officials would draw the line, asking if special privileges would be granted to pedophiles. "The question I have is what are your limits," he said.

But Bloomington resident Lisa Williams supported the measure. "I don't view this as an issue of morality," she said.

The city council will take up the ordinance for final adoption at next week's council meeting. If adopted, Bloomington's human rights ordinance will mirror the HRO adopted by the Indianapolis City-County Council earlier this year.

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