The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported earlier tonight in their piece Cleveland City Council expected to pass transgender rights ordinance tonight:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A push to outlaw transgender discrimination is likely to pass at tonight’s City Council meeting.

For months, transgender rights advocates have been lobbying council members to support the measure, which Councilman Joe Santiago introduced more than a year ago.

The legislation would make it illegal to fire someone or deny housing to someone because of their gender identity or expression.

“Transgendered people are the most vulnerable of our community,” Sue Doerfer, executive director of the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, said in an e-mail. “This legislation will provide protections that are essential to the lives and well-being of the transgendered.” …

Well, Spangle Magazine is reporting that the council vote was unanimous:

On a night when the soaring Glenville High School football team generated a more raucous discussion than significant civil-rights legislation, Cleveland City Council voted unanimously to extend the existing nondiscrimination ordinance to transgender people.

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.

By adding the words “gender identity or expression” to a criminal law that provides protection in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations, council members took a huge step forward, supporters said.

“Basically, it means that I won’t have to worry about being fired,” longtime activist Jacob Nash explained in the minutes before the vote. “… I won’t have to worry about people in my community out on the street.”

Cleveland Stonewall Democrats Congratulates Cleveland City Council for its Unanimous Passage of Transgender ProtectionThe Cleveland Stonewall Democrats Added:

Cleveland – At 7:44 this evening the Cleveland City Council approved an ordinance protecting the employment, housing and public accommodation rights of transgendered individuals in the City.  The unanimous vote was met by enthusiastic applause within Council Chambers.

Cleveland Stonewall Democrats’ Vice President for Political Strategy, Robert Rivera commented, “This is an historic and proud moment for the City of Cleveland and for Stonewall Democrats.  Every one of our endorsed candidates not only voted for the ordinance, but took it upon themselves to play significant leadership roles in driving the ordinance toward passage.”

Foremost among those Councilmen were Jay Westbrook (D-18) and Joe Cimperman (D-13), both of whom spoke in favor of passage before the vote was taken.  Councilman Westbrook pointed out that “when the Mayor signs this into law tomorrow, the full weight of the City of Cleveland will be standing with…those who have experienced the hard hand of discrimination.”  Councilman Cimperman then rose and declared that this is a “fundamental issue of human rights” and although the legislation may be imperfect, it is a big step toward full equality. “We will continue to make this a city that welcomes everyone.” …

No Or Both Gender Male Female Restroom Sign - Gender Neutral Restroom Bathroom SignBut of course, those who believe trans people are bathroom predators in one way won, which is part of the imperfection of the bill. Again, from Spangle:

But an amendment to exclude bathrooms, locker rooms and showers from the protections weakened the bill.

I understand the locker room and public shower exclusion, but bathroom stalls have doors; there is no presumption of shared nudity in a bathroom. In public women’s restrooms, I’ve never seen another’s genitalia, and as far as I know, no one has made an effort to look at my genitalia.

But hey, less on the negative, and more on the positive: Equality under the law for trans people won a powerful step in Cleveland, Ohio. That’s something to be happy about.

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen