by Eric Sandy
Remember last November when City Council discussed an ordinance that would include "gender identity or expression" in its anti-discrimination language? That was a long time ago — and that meeting itself came a whole year after the ordinance was originally introduced.
So here we are, two years after the ordinance shows up, and no action has been taken.
A crowd of residents reminded City Council of that this week when they arrived at City Hall. "Is Cleveland ready?" they chanted. See, Ordinance 1446-13 ran into a rather familiar net of controversy last year, because the law would also allow transgender individuals to use the restroom that matches the gender with which they identify. It's a basic aspect of anti-discriminaton law that has been discussed and passed all over the country, but it always brings out the hardliners.
Here's what we wrote last year:
Here's a major problem with the tone of public debate: Most negative commenters — in person and online — invert the causal problem at hand and cast transgender men and women as the aggressors. (i.e. If we pass this ordinance, hordes of "men wearing dresses" will start attacking women in their restroom.) Data bears out the fact that if a crime involves a transgender person, that transgender person is usually the victim.
In fact, this legislation isn't even *about* public restrooms, entirely. Cimperman pointed that out, and council staff attorney Jennifer O'Leary said that concerns over restroom bedlam are wholly unfounded.