Press

NGLTF Lauds Chicago for Passing Transgender Non-Discrimation Measure

Date: 
November 07, 2002

Council Votes to Add

November 6, 2002, Chicago, Illinois - The Chicago City Council today voted to pass a measure amending the city's anti-discrimination laws to add explicit coverage for transgender Chicagoans. Mayor Richard Daley has expressed his support for the measure and is expected to sign it.

According to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Executive Director Lorri L. Jean, "Chicago activists have been working for many years on this effort. Adding protections based on gender identity and expression is simply the right thing to do and NGLTF calls on fair-minded jurisdictions across the country to do the same."

The effort to pass the bill was led by Illinois Gender Advocates (IGA). The amendment passed the Council's Human Relations Commission unanimously on October 31. The listed sponsors and their wards are: Bernie Hansen (44th), Billy Ocasio (26th), Richard Mell (33rd), Gene Schulter (47th), Vilma Colom (35th), Mary Ann Smith (48th) and Helen Shiller (46th).The bill adds "a person's gender identity, appearance, or behavior," to Chicago's Human Rights and Fair Housing Ordinances, which cover employment, housing, and public accommodations. Sexual orientation was added to the law in 1988.

With the Mayor's signature, Chicago will become the twelfth jurisdiction in 2002 to pass a law to add explicit gender identity and/or expression protections to a local anti-discrimination law, either simultaneously with the addition of sexual orientation or standing alone.

NGLTF supported the effort by developing advocacy materials and strategy with IGA, as well as mailing an action alert to all NGLTF members in Chicago urging them to contact their aldermen and Mayor Daley. NGLTF also collected endorsements of the bill by national organizations and coordinated a joint letter from those organizations to Mayor Daley.

The eleven other jurisdictions that have passed anti-discrimination laws that include transgender people this year are: Allentown, PA; Boston, MA; Buffalo, NY; Erie County, PA; Dallas, TX; Decatur, IL; New Hope, PA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Salem, OR; and Tacoma, WA. With the addition of Chicago, there will be a total of 51 jurisdictions in the United States that explicitly include transgender people in their anti-discrimination laws, including 42 cities, seven counties and the two states of Rhode Island and Minnesota.

NGLTF's Transgender Civil Rights Project provides legislative and strategy assistance, including evaluation of legislative language, to activists and organizations working to pass trans-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinances or add transgender people to existing laws.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.