Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dallas County Expands Rights-Omits The Trans Community

Dallas County is one of the blue political and liberal progressive oases in sea of Texas red politics, but even that blue political oasis ignored a section of the Dallas County population recently.

Despite the tidal wave of bad news for Texas Democrats in the 2010 elections, one bright spot was the Dallas area.   They not only held off the Tea Klux Klan electoral tsunami that wiped out the progressive progress we'd made in Harris County since the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, but gained a Democratic majority on the Commissioners Court for the first time in three decades.    

The city of Dallas’ employment nondiscrimination policy has included sexual orientation since 1995 but the  Republican majority ensconsed on the Commissioners Court allegedly has prevented Dallas County from enacting similar protections.

As part of fulfilling a campaign promise from incoming Judge Clay Jenkins and County Commissioner Elba Garcia to do so as quickly as possible, back on March 22 the Dallas County Commissioners Court voted to add sexual orientation to the county's non discrimination policy for its 7000 workers.

That's great news if you're gay or lesbian, but as we know, not if you're trans.

The reason?   County Judge Clay Jenkins told the Dallas Voice Instant Tea blog they were under the impression that sexual orientation and gender identity were the same and would cover trans people.

Um, no they aren't 

"It was our intent in adding sexual orientation to broaden that to include all members of the GLBT community," said Judge Jenkins in that interview

While that's good to know, for future reference only adding both sexual orientation and gender identity language or expression language will accomplish that task.  

Judge Jenkins to his credit has stated that they will revisit the issue of adding the gender identity language in a future commissioners court session. 

Great, can you do that as soon as possible?    It might be a good idea to do so before the Out and Equal Convention comes to Dallas?.

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