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DETROIT, MI – On Wednesday, Detroit added its name to the growing number of jurisdictions that protect its workers, residents and visitors from discrimination based on “gender identity or expression.” In order to extend these protections, the Detroit City Council amended the City’s nondiscrimination ordinance. The ordinance passed 8-1 with only Council member Kwame Kenyatta voting against it.
“The passage of this human rights ordinance is a great positive step forward for the City and we are pleased to have been involved on the ground level to ensure the inclusion of gender identity,” said Kate Runyon, Interim Executive Director of the Triangle Foundation. “The City Council has shown tremendous leadership and courage today and we congratulate them on this declaration of the City’s openness and commitment to inclusion.”
“The Detroit City Council believes that it is a necessity for every Detroit citizen to be protected from all forms of discrimination, injustice, and harm, ” said Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., Detroit City Council President. It is for this reason that the Detroit City Council affirms the addition of gender identity as a protected class within its Human Rights Ordinance. The practices and policies of the City of Detroit should promote a public confidence in the fairness and equal treatment of any and all human beings. Detroit is a welcoming city, and all of our policies must reflect this openness and commitment to social justice. The Detroit City Council expresses the desire for justice for everyone.”
Triangle Foundation, which is based in Detroit, has been working for seventeen years to end discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The addition of “gender identity or expression” to anti-discrimination laws actually protects all people who don’t conform to rigid gender norms.
Jay Kaplan of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan affirmed its passage as well. “The ACLU of Michigan commends Detroit’s City Council for adding gender identity or expression to its human rights ordinance, recognizing that everyone, including persons who are transgender, deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness. The City joins countless other large cities in prohibiting this form of discrimination.”