BREAKING NEWS: VICTORY!! Tampa City Council Protects Transgender Citizens

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Posted on November 19, 2009 - 12:55pm by Anonymous.

(TAMPA) Equality Florida commends the Tampa City Council for expanding non-discrimination protections to those who live, work and visit the city. Tampa is the latest city in Florida to add “gender identity” to its human rights ordinance that bans discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation.

Click here to send a thank you note to the Tampa City Council

Today’s action comes at the request of the Tampa Human Rights Council led by its Chair, Phil Dinkins. Equality Florida has worked closely with the council in the months leading up to today’s vote and assisted with documenting the clear need for such protections.

“Equality Florida was born out of the struggle to expand Tampa’s non-discrimination protections so they include the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” said Nadine Smith. “Today’s vote, while long overdue, makes it clear that Tampa is a leader in Florida when it comes to protecting its citizens.”

One extreme right organization launched an effort to derail today’s vote, but Equality Florida members and allied organizations including Pride Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough LGBT Democratic Caucus stepped up and sent 3,096 emails to various Tampa City Council members encouraging them to stand strong in their conviction to protect all citizens. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, BB&T Bank, PepsiCo/FritoLay and other leaders in the business community spoke out debunking wild claims by the opposition by recounting the positive impact inclusive policies have had for their companies.

Tampa is not alone in adding “gender identity and gender expression” to its non-discrimination ordinance. Many public and private entities offer expanded protections to their citizens and employees. In fact, including “gender identity and gender expression” has become standard practice the last decade.

Here in Florida, sixteen local government entities offer these protections in Florida, including several right here in Tampa Bay. Among them are: Broward County, Palm Beach County, Monroe County, Miami Beach, Gainesville, Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, Gulfport, Miami Beach, Key West, Largo, Tequesta, Wilton Manors, Dunedin, Orlando, and Oakland Park.

Nationally, 108 local city and county governments , 13 states and Washington, D.C. include “gender identity and gender expression” in their non-discrimination laws.

Protecting employees from discrimination is also considered smart business. Of the top Fortune 100 companies, 60 have expanded protections, as do many of Florida's major employers, including: Honeywell, Raymond James, Hillsborough County Bar Association, Tech Data Corp., Carlton Fields, and others.

Equality Florida is Florida’s statewide human rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Through education and advocacy, the organization is committed to building a state of equal rights for all Floridians, inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities.


Anonymous (not verified) says:

November 20, 2009 - 2:01pm

Oh Scotty, God is not a registered voter.

John W. (not verified) says:

November 20, 2009 - 1:42pm

In regard to yesterday’s city council vote on extending protection to transgender people in Tampa, city council member Rev. Thomas Scott said. “I did not sleep well last night. I spent most of my time as a Christian praying and seeking wisdom and direction on this particular ordinance.” He went on to say, “The only vote I care about is God’s vote.” And he asked, “What would Jesus do?” He then voted in approval of the ordinance.

As a county commissioner Rev. Thomas Scott continually voted against equality for the LGBT community in Hillsborough County. I hope and suspect that he prayed for God’s guidance and will then. So, what brought about his change of heart? I doubt that God gave him two different answers, one guiding his vote as a county commissioner and one that guided him on Thursday! Maybe his hearing has improved since becoming a member of city council, or is it that he is running for mayor in 2011?

Tampa voters are more progressive when it involves the issue of equal rights for all of its citizens. The opposite applies with the voters in unincorporated Hillsborough County, and Thomas Scott knows that.

As a member of the LGBT community I thank him for his vote for equality, and grateful that his hearing has improved, but he will not receive my vote for mayor in 2011.

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