Kalamazoo passes sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination ordinance

A little bit of good voting news from yesterday: Kalamazoo, MI has added sexual orientation and gender identity to its laws banning discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
While a growing number of anti-discrimination laws include gender identity this still amounts to far less than those that include sexual orientation (there are too few jurisdictions [pdf] covered by these laws, too). 12 states and DC prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, while 21 others prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Unsurprisingly, the campaign against Ordinance 1856 focused on the inclusion of gender identity and those scary scary bathrooms while simultaneously erasing transgender identity. Given these transphobic tactics I see it as an especially positive sign that the ordinance passed with 62% of the vote.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • http://www.isak.typepad.com annaleighclark

    Another piece of good news today for equality rights in Michigan:
    Citing Kalamazoo vote, Mich. House panel sends civil rights law to floor
    The Michigan House Judiciary Committee Wednesday voted 9-5 to send legislation to the full House to amend civil rights laws in the state to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
    “With the passage in Kalamazoo last night by overwhelming majority of voters of a similar law, it is time to move this bill,” said Judiciary Chairman Mark Meadows, an East Lansing Democrat. On Tuesday, voters in Kalamazoo approved Ordinance 1856, which protects citizens and visitors in the city from discrimination on the basis of, among other things, sexual orientation and gender identity.
    Meadows also noted President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act late last month, the first time lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been specifically delineated as a protected class under federal law.
    The legislation would amend the state’s current civil rights law, titled the Elliot-Larsen Act, to include sexual orientation and gender identity. …

  • Lilith Luffles

    Unfortunately for these people, trans gender men would go into bathrooms for women if they got their way. But they failed to think about that. Unless they didn’t want any trans gendered people using public bathrooms, which I can totally see. If you don’t even want someone to exist, why would you be alright with them using a public restroom?

  • pull_rank

    Major kudos go to campaign manager Jon Hoadley, former ED of Stonewall Democrats and the guy who got a greater percentage of South Dakotans to vote against a gay marriage ban than the opposition did in California.

  • dame_elphaba

    It also passed in West Michigan– which is incredibly conservative and referred to as a northern Bible Belt. So kudos K-Zoo!