National LGBT Group Asks Dallas County to Include Gender Identity Protection

For four days at the end of October, San Francisco-based Out & Equal will hold its annual Workplace Summit at the Hilton Anatole; they're expecting quite the crowd, following the 2,500 who turned out for last year's star-studded confab in Los Angeles. But before the visit, Out & Equal would like to ask the Dallas County Commissioners if they wouldn't mind taking another look at the county's nondiscrimination policy and making one more tweak to it.

Because, as the Dallas Voice has noted, a couple of weeks back the commissioners court voted to add sexual orientation to Dallas County's employment nondiscrimination policy. But it didn't include in the language anything about gender identity -- which means LGB's are covered, but T's are not. Which is why Selisse Berry, founding executive director of Out & About, sent the commissioners a letter last night asking them to reconsider -- especially in advance of their coming trip to Dallas in the fall. Writes Berry in the letter that follows in full:

As a former resident of Dallas, I'm personally gratified to see the important steps you have taken. Now, we strongly urge you to complete the important work you began with this effort by including gender identity protections as well, so that you will fully protect all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who work hard for your county. ...

Dallas County will benefit when its workers are sure that they will be judged on their workplace performance, and on that basis alone, rather than on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In doing so, you'll be joining the rapidly growing ranks of Fortune 500 companies, along with cities such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and El Paso, who share the same values.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told the Voice that, for what it's worth, he kinda thought gender identity was covered by the "sexual orientation" language contained in the new policy.

Selisse Berry re Dallas County Policy

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky