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Cleveland Passes Transgender Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Cleveland's City Council added transgender people to the list of those covered by the city's anti-discrimination laws in housing and employment, the Plain Dealer reports:

Santiago "Existing city codes prohibit businesses from denying jobs or housing to citizens for reasons of age, race, religion or sexual orientation. Activists in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had lobbied for more than a year to include gender identity and expression. The unanimous vote was the latest step the council has taken to demonstrate a more tolerant atmosphere -- one that helped the city land the 2014 Gay Games, an international competition." ... Santiago, the council's first openly gay council member, urged his colleagues to continue fighting for equality. Voters recently denied his bid for a second four-year term. 'I hope the new council coming on board will help this legislation evolve,' Santiago said Monday during a meeting of the council's Finance Committee, which reviewed the measure."

Gay publication Spangle writes: "As many as 100 supporters filled the cavernous council chamber with applause — twice. President Martin Sweeney wryly explained to audience members that the first round of cheers accompanied a motion to suspend the rules, so moments later — upon actual passage — supporters upped their joyous expression with a standing ovation...But an amendment to exclude bathrooms, locker rooms and showers from the protections weakened the bill. 'It’s not perfect,' said Sue Doerfer, executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. 'It is not a perfect piece of legislation.' That was a sentiment echoed by one of the bill’s sponsors, Councilman Joe Cimperman, who said the discrepancy regarding some public accommodations will be re-examined in 2010. Ahead of the vote, however, he spoke with his usual passion: 'It seems a wind of equality is blowing … Cleveland will continue to be a beacon for the people of Ohio.' When we spoke at the Gay Games pep rally in September, Cimperman promised that transgender legislation would pass by the end of the year — and by a larger margin than the domestic-partner registry, he reminded me tonight. He was right on both counts (the registry earned approval with a 13-7 margin)."

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