Bil Browning

Great LGBT news from around the state

Filed By Bil Browning | April 21, 2006 11:29 AM | comments

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This has been an excellent week for LGBT Hoosiers! I'll give a quick rundown, and hopefully Randy can update us further on the situation he was so directly involved in.

#1 - Bloomington, Indiana adds "gender identity" to its Human Rights Ordinance: Not only is there the Indianapolis Star article to read, but bilerico contributor Brylo brought us breaking news of the vote. You'll notice that only ONE detractor spoke at the meeting. This is such a no-brainer that even the religious right can't muster a defense.

Under the amendment, gender identity is defined as "a person's actual or perceived gender-related attributes, self-image, appearance, expression or behavior, whether or not such characteristics differ from those traditionally associated with the person's assigned sex at birth."

Bloomington is now at least the second Indiana city with such an ordinance as the Indianapolis City-County Council approved similar protections in December.


#2 - South Bend, Indiana considers inclusive HRO: WNDU provides a pretty good story (except for the term "sexual preference"... Argh...) about South Bend's push for equality. The South Bend City Council will vote on a new inclusive human rights ordinance on May 8th. Robin Beck is also the Indiana Equality Region 2 chair. The ordinance follows Indy's lead - including both sexual orientation and gender identity.
There are plenty of books in town on the gay and lesbian lifestyle, but nothing on the books in the way of legal protection against discrimination.

"They're fired from their job and they're fairly sure it's because they're gay or lesbian. (I've) got a gentleman who comes in, who is not able to have his significant other move in with him because the place he lives (states) no same sex couples allowed," says Robin Beck of the GLTG Resource Center.

However, protection when renting apartments or buying homes would be offered to gays and lesbians, in a proposed change in South Bend city policy.


#3 - Lesbians win LGBT discrimination case in Lafayette: During it's first test, the Lafayette human rights ordinance provided protection just like it's supposed to. This is the one Randy was involved with. He works closely with Citizens for Civil Rights and is the Indiana Equality Region 4 chair. Congratulations on all the hard work, Randy! Fill us in on the story!
The Lafayette Human Relations Commission has ruled that Cox's Pub violated the city code in refusing to allow same sex couples to slow dance together.

The commission made the determination Thursday evening, recommending pub owner Eric Cox change his rule "to relate more to behavior rather than to same sex," said commission vice chairperson Ellie Kaplan.


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What a breath of fresh air! I would like to think change is coming, slowly but surely!!!!

Margeaux May | April 21, 2006 11:18 PM

Great news, but not entirely.

Regarding item 1: While Bloomington is the second city in the State to add gender identity (GI) to the Human Rights Ordinance (HRO), it is the first city, as I understand, to have protections which can be prosecuted by city attorneys. Unlike Bloomington, the Indianapolis HRO is more symbolic than actually enforceable. If I understand Indianapolis' HRO, we record offenses, rely on mediation, and the fear of potential litigation to curb offenses.

Regarding item #2: Where is Gender Identity mentioned in South Bend's proposed HRO. It seems to be omitted either in the reporting or in the proposition itself. Whenever sexual orientation protections are secured without gender identity inclusion, it usually requires a minimum of a decade, and often a difficult challenge to secure GI protections later.

Item #3: I don't get what all this fuss is about. I LOVE to dance. I have danced a lot. Throughout my entire life, everytime I've danced, I see women dancing together. It is so normal to me and my experience, that if women ever stopped dancing together, I think it would rupture the space-time continuum of the universe. I don't know what it takes, whether it's court cases or new laws, but let's do everying we can to keep the women of Lafayette dancing.

We have come far...yet there is so far to go.

William Crone | April 22, 2006 1:59 AM

The City of South Bend is considering the inclusion of protections for both gender identity and sexual orientation. From the agenda for the 04/27/06 meeting of the South Bend Common Council:

"29-06 FIRST READING ON A BILL OF THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, AMENDING VARIOUS SECTIONS OF ARTICLE 9, OF CHAPTER 2 OF THE SOUTH BEND MUNICIPAL CODE ADDRESSING THE HUMAN RIGHTS ORDINANCE BY THE INCLUSIONS OF NEW PROVISIONS ADDRESSING GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION."

Annette-- so long as Indiana does not grant "home rule" to Indiana cities, Bloomington's law is no more enforceable by lawsuit or in law than West Lafayette's. Their attorney seems to think differently... but the fact remains that so long as GI and SO are not covered in state law.. it's a voluntary compliance/ shame in the community and press issue.

IE was founded to get GI and SO in the state civil rights code.. and that should STILL be the focus. (Even though the opposition will continue to throw up strawmen like marriage and gay adoption to garner votes and demonize us. These take our focus and hurt the overall effort. They KNOW that when-- and yes, I said WHEN-- Indiana adds these categories to the code, all of these other issues will fall our way.)

Whew... I need a few more hours in my garden. I will post on Lafayette's case ASAP.

You may want to check out a post on Howeypolitics.com by Abdul from WXNT. He wrote about some comments by Ron Franklin, a candidaite for Congress that should scare everybody.