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This is not legal advice, which can only be given by an attorney admitted to practice law in your jurisdiction after hearing all of the facts and circumstances in a particular case.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

West Palm Beach, FL passes gender identity ordinance

The City Commission of West Palm Beach, Florida, has adopted an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against transgender people. Looking at this development against the backdrop of Florida as a whole shows that Florida is a surprising mix of progressive and retrograde.

As reported in Gay News From 365Gay.com, the Commission voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on gender identity or expression. The law, which covers all employers in the city having 15 or more employees, goes into effect next week.

According to Dan Moffett of the Palm Beach post, the ordinance includes the following definition of gender identity or expression:

"Gender identity or expression means a person's various individual attributes, actual or perceived, as they are understood to be masculine and/or feminine, or a person's self-identity, self-image, appearance or expression as a man or woman, whether or not different from those traditionally associated with the person's sex at birth."

This definition is close to those I'm familiar with, but has some interesting differences, particularly the reference to individual attributes. I'll have to do a post on all these definitions at some point to discuss what these differences might mean.

According to Steve Rothaus at MiamiHerald.com, the ordinance, considered at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, comes in reaction to the firing of Largo City Manager Steve Stanton in Pinellas County.

"West Palm Beach has sent a very clear message to employers, landlords, and business owners that people who do not fit society's stereotypes of masculinity and femininity are entitled to the same protections as all other minorities who have been victims of discrimination," said Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.

There are only a few cities in Florida with gender identity protection ordinances:

City of Key West
City of Miami Beach
Monroe County

Gulfport should be included on that list, according to Out in America.

However, Florida's Commission on Human Relations has ruled that given the position the company has taken in the past on these issues.)

Office Depot Inc. Delray Beach FL
Tech Data Corp. Clearwater FL
Ryder System Inc. Miami FL
AutoNation Inc. Fort Lauderdale FL
FPL Group Inc. Juno Beach FL
Darden Restaurants Orlando FL
Jabil Circuit St. Petersburg FL
Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. Jacksonville FL
Lennar Corp Miami FL
Publix Super Markets Lakeland FL
CSX Corp. Jacksonville FL

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