In order to achieve full recognition of civil rights of the LGBTQAI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning, androgynous, intersex, ally, or other self-identification related to gender identity or sexual orientation) community in Orlando, a citizen board, known as the Chapter 57 Review Board, is considering amending the anti-discrimination policy to include “gender identity”.
According to an LGBT website, the amendment was drafted by the City Attorney, presented to a city review board today and if approved it will go before the City Council for its first reading tentatively July 14 with at least two public hearings before the final vote. Gina Duncan of Florida Equality is leading the push to change the policy. Duncan is a biologically-born male who underwent sex re-assignment surgical procedures.
The review board hearing the amendment is a seven-member panel of non-elected individuals, which according to the City of Orlando website reviews determinations of complaints of discrimination, conducts mediation and holds hearings when any party to a complaint violates the term of a negotiated settlement agreement.
The proposed amendment includes the following language to describe “gender identity”:
“the actual or perceived sex to include the person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, expression or behavior, whether or not that gender identity, self image, appearance, expression or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.”
As advocates seek equal access to public accommodations for transgenders, “bathroom battles” have emerged reports USA Today, including women locker rooms at the YMCA. There is much confusion over this issue because of the few legal cases that have been heard, there have been inconsistent rulings.
In addition to the new gender identity language, the proposed amendment to Orlando’s anti-discrimination policy also creates a seemingly new bureaucratic position- “human relations official” -and gives this official the authority to initiate complaints and to “investigate” to determine whether a complaint should be filed, regardless of whether a public complaint has been filed. This would greatly expand the power of an non-elected government bureaucrat.
Citizens of the metro-Orlando area should pay attention to this proposed change and consider its consequences.