Sean Kosofsky

Detroit Bans Anti-Transgender Discrimination!

Filed By Sean Kosofsky | April 09, 2008 3:53 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: civil rights, Detroit, ordinance, trans, transgender

The 11th largest city in the country just banned anti-transgender discrimination.

After a grueling 2 hours of other council business, I emerged from the Detroit City Council meeting with good news. The Council voted 8-1 in support of amending the City's human rights ordinance to include "gender identity or expression."

Detroit has nearly 940,000 residents, but of course this ordinance not only covers those living in the city, but also those visiting, shopping in and working in the City. The formal effort to amend the ordinance began back in October, and we were hoping it would pass around the time that the Creating Change Conference was here in February, but city politics delayed it a tad.

The only member of council to oppose the ordinance was Kwame Kenyatta. He voted "no" in committee and claims it was because the protections for sexual orientation were adequate to cover transgender individuals.

Ironically, but not surprisingly, the Human Rights Department showed up to oppose the amendment. The very people charged with enforcing human rights showed up to block language that would expand human rights. Someone was playing politics with this department because they arrived at the hearing two weeks ago not even knowing this was on the agenda. Someone called them, I believe, to come out against the ordinance.

A representative from the Department actually said that she thought cross dressing could be disruptive at work. I quickly fired back, at the hearing, that it was discrimination that was disruptive, not cross dressing. If you can't do your job because someone in the next cubicle dresses in a way you are not comfortable with, then you are not a professional and maybe should find another job.

Anyway, we are basking in our victory today. We are so happy that trans folks here in Detroit are a little "closer to free" than they were yesterday.

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I'd wenture a guess it was probably Marvin Winans and friends that were trying to jack with it.

Marvin's megachurc is the local affiliate of the Lo(Hi) Impact (Mis)leadership Coalition.

Now where is the FEDERAL leadership on expanding transgender civil rights?

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | April 9, 2008 5:22 PM

Great news, Sean!!! And given the reactionary trolls who have vented across the airways in response to Thomas Beatie, a very welcome victory.

And btw, I love your comeback. Right on!!!

What great news! We were able to get sexual orientation and gender identity passed in the same ordinance here in Indianapolis. I know going back for the transgender folks can be very difficult - my hat's off to Detroit!

battybattybats battybattybats | April 10, 2008 2:16 AM


And somehow I guess the world won't end for Detroit either. Nor will the toilets fill with predators or any of the other nonsense that opponents always say will happen and which haven't anywhere that has treated Transgender people as human beings too.

We need a list of all the places around the world where this has happened and every time someone brings up the threat of treating transgender people like people we can say:
"That hasn't happened in:" and then read the list of places.

It's rather hard to argue against that. It shows the 'danger' as unfounded nonsense. That list wil make every battle easier to win, each of which makes the list grow and makes the next battle easier to win.

A snowball-effect of truth that will cascade around the world.

17 years - better than average, and a cause for hope.

That's the time delay since GLB only legislation was passed. Congrats to all those who worked for this, for year after year after year after year.

Very few jurisdictions manage to pass an amended inclusive ordnance, even after decades. Usually, the ordnance has to be inclusive from the start.

Again, my congratulations to everyone in managing to buck a nearly universal trend. If the delay was only 17 years in all jurisdictions, the opposition to an exclusive ENDA would have been far less.