Transgender Victories: San Diego and Pennsylvania the Latest Successes; California on the Horizon

July 29, 2003

Yesterday, by a unanimous vote, the San Diego City Council amended its Human Dignity Ordinance to include protections for transgender individuals in employment, housing, public accommodations and education.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force worked with the local activists through Task Force attorney Lisa Mottet, who serves as the legislative lawyer for the Transgender Civil Rights Project. The Task Force provided local activists with the legislative language successfully adopted, as well as legal memorandums and advocacy materials for use with council members and the mayor. Of the top 10 largest cities in the U.S., San Diego becomes the sixth with explicit transgender protections. Overall, eight cities and one state (New Mexico) have passed transgender protections into their anti-discrimination laws in 2003. For more information see the press release from the local group, the HDO Amendment Coalition, below.

Also yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell signed Executive Order 2003-10 adding "gender identity or expression" to the list of characteristics protected for employees of the Pennsylvania State Government. This order is very similar to the executive order that was signed by Kentucky Governor Paul Patton on the 29th of May. The Task Force assisted state activists when they proposed the executive order to the governor and is excited to celebrate today's success. The text of the executive order can be found on the governor's website.

California is moving closer to becoming the 4th state that explicitly bans discrimination against transgender people. Assembly Bill 196 (which has passed both the Senate and the Assembly) is sitting on Governor Gray Davis' desk awaiting his signature. The Task Force urges all California residents to immediately contact Governor Davis to urge his signing of the measure, which will make it illegal to engage in gender-based discrimination in housing and employment.

For more information see the Equality California Action Alert below.


Contact: HDO Coalition, Amanda Watson at

San Diego City Council Gives Final Approval for Transgender Protection

(July 28, 2003) - Today in a historic vote, the San Diego City Council unanimously voted to amend the city's Human Dignity Ordinance (HDO) to protect the civil rights of transgender people.

"We as a community have worked hard to achieve this goal," said Amanda Watson, co-chair of the HDO Amendment Coalition, which formed early this year to press for passage of the measure. "It has been an honor working with such a diverse group. I am proud to be a part of this and to live in a city where I know I have rights too."

The amendment adds "gender identity" to the current language (which protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation). Gender identity is defined as "having or being perceived as having a gender-related identity or expression whether or not stereotypically associated with a person's actual or perceived sex."

San Diego is the first city to use the word "stereotypically" in its language instead of the word "traditionally." San Diego now joins 3 states, 9 counties and 49 other cities in specifically protecting transgender people. San Diego's current HDO, passed in 1990, covers employment, housing, city services, business establishments and educational institutions.

"Many people assume that laws protecting gays and lesbians also protect transgender individuals, but that's not the case," said Jess Durfee, also co-chair of the HDO Amendment Coalition. "There is no direct relationship between one's gender identity or expression and one's sexual orientation. We needed language specifically protecting the civil rights of transgender people."

The HDO Amendment Coalition worked with Lisa Mottet, a legislative lawyer for the Transgender Civil Rights project at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. They asked Mayor Dick Murphy, through the LGBT Advisory Board, to amend the HDO, and Councilmember Toni Atkins submitted the recommendations to the City Attorney.

Members of the HDO Amendment Coalition include: the American Civil Liberties Union, Balboa Park for All, BiForum, BiPol, Bienestar-San Diego, Dawn Media, Imperial Court de San Diego, Inc., LGBT Center of San Diego, LGBT+SQ Communities E-Mail List, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Pride At Work, San Diego Democratic Club, San Diego State University LGBT Student Union, San Diego TransFamily, Inc., The Butterfly Group, Transgender People of San Diego, Inc., and Transpire.


July 24, 2003


AB 196, the Gender Non-discrimination bill by Assembly Member Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), was approved by the state Senate today. Next stop for the bill is Governor Gray Davis' desk for a signature or veto.

AB 196 is one of three priority bills sponsored by Equality California in 2003. It will protect transgender and gender non-conforming Californians from unfair discrimination in employment and housing.

To learn more about AB 196, check out our website:

*********************************************** ACTION ALERT: AB 196 (GENDER NONDISCRIMINATION)


AB 196 provides critical legal protections for those Californians discriminated against because of their gender identity or expression. All that is needed now to enact these protections is the governor's signature.

TAKE ACTION! Please contact Governor Gray Davis and ask him to sign AB196. Here's how:

SEND AN EMAIL: To send an email to the Governor, simply visit EQCA's Action Center:

MAKE A PHONE CALL: Don't forget -- the right wing not only sends emails, they also make phone calls. Help make sure that the Governor hears how important this bill is to thousands of Californians!

Please call Governor Davis (during business hours) and ask him to "Please SIGN AB 196, to protect Californians from gender discrimination."

Sacramento - 916-445-2841
Fresno - 559-445-5295
Los Angeles - 213-897-0322
Riverside - 909-680-6860
San Diego - 619-525-4641
San Francisco - 415-703-2218

SEND A FAX: You can also fax the Governor at 916-445-4633 Or check this website for a local fax number: and click on "Contact the Governor"


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.