Transgendered Press For Inclusion In Florida Human Rights Code
[FORT LAUDERDALE, FL] - Transgendered men and women living in the Fort Lauderdale area have begun a push for inclusion in Broward County's human rights ordinance.
Gays and lesbians were given protections from discrimination eight years ago, but the legalization does not include the transgendered.
"If a gay person goes in for housing or gets fired, they have protection, but at this point, if a transgender or transsexual gets fired, they have nothing behind them," said Gloria Stein who transitioned from male five years ago.
"There are many people who get kicked out of their job or pushed around when they change and don't have any recourse the way gays and lesbians do."
After meeting with Stein and other area transgenderds the county's human rights advisory board agreed to seek a change in the law.
Diane Arnold told the board that discrimination against transgender residents is common despite Broward's live-and-let-live image and large gay population. She has been questioned several times about using women's restrooms and has friends who have been harassed at restaurants, fired from their jobs and have lost their families.
Arnold gained national attention in 1999 when she became the first transgender member of the county's Democratic Executive Committee.
County commissioners were surprised by the proposal because they thought their original ordinance was all-encompassing.
Most are supportive. "Human rights are human rights for all humans -- that's how I feel," County Mayor Diana Wasserman-Rubin said.
"We want to ensure that all human beings are treated equally and with respect and afforded the same rights under the law, period."