Mercedes Allen

Transgender People Ejected in Jacksonville

Filed By Mercedes Allen | August 12, 2012 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Florida, human rights abuses, inclusion, Jacksonville, LGBT rights, transgender, transsexual

In July, I wrote about human rights legislation in general, and the struggle to pass an ordinance in Jacksonville, Florida. That ordinance was moved through two committees and is expected to be voted on in the coming week. bigstock-Kicked-Out-The-Door-8708509.jpgAs some have expected, transsexual and transgender people were bartered away when "gender identity or expression" was dropped from the bill.

Councilman Warren Jones, the bill's author, said the phrase was too vague for some council members. Opponents said it could lead to protecting cross dressing and unprofessional attire, such as unusual hair colors.

Part of what has added to the difficulty in passing the ordinance was the way messaging was exploited over Chick-Fil-A, to conflate a boycott with "censoring free speech."

During both meetings, [Councilman Don Redman] brought up last week's demonstration and counter-demonstrations held at Chick-fil-A restaurants after the company's founder said he supports traditional views of marriage.

"A handful of people from the gay and lesbian community went out to do their protest in front of the man's business, waving their signs, screaming and hollering," Redman said during Rules. "That is discrimination."

Actually, no, that is protest, which is a form of free speech, and both sides of the debate engaged in it. But that shows how successfully messaging has been manipulated.

This makes it doubly important to remember how oppression slips into the persecution / rage cycle as a defensive mechanism, and the need to be angry, but act smartly.

There are a few additional modifications to the ordinance, including placing a limit on the ability to sue so that only voluntary mediation is an option. There is also this:

Jones said the new bill also "expands the exemptions" for religious institutions, something he felt needed to be done to protect their rights. The old bill, he said, had a "narrow definition" for religious institutions.

I don't yet know specifically how the definition of religious institutions has been widened, and what the implications of that move will be.

Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith called dropping gender identity and gender expression "absolutely unacceptable." The group is calling on supporters in and around Jacksonville to attend a rally on Monday August 13th to call for the restoration of the original language to the bill. This will take place at 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Park.

Additionally, the organization still has a form live to tell Jacksonville City Council members why it is important to pass a trans-inclusive human rights ordinance.

(Ejected clipart via Bigstock)


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