Council's Action Bans Discrimination In Housing And Employment
January 14, 2011
The city council has passed two ordinances that ban discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
The ordinances prohibit discrimination on those grounds in housing and employment, and include gender identity and gender expression as a protected class in Hartford's affirmative action laws. They also ban discrimination by companies or individuals who contract with the city.
"There are times the council shows its moderate-to-conservative streak, but [other] times we stand up and show just how progressive we can be," said Councilman Luis Cotto, who proposed the ordinances last month. "We took a bold step toward protecting a vulnerable community."
The ordinances define gender identity and expression as "a person's actual or perceived gender, including a person's self-image, appearance, expression or behavior" — whether or not it is different from the person's sex at birth.
Cotto said he worked with members of the Hartford Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues to draft the ordinances.
"It's a great first step for the state of Connecticut and I applaud Hartford's leadership," said Cindy Dubuque, secretary of the commission. "I hope that the state legislature will follow Hartford's lead."
Admission to homeless shelters was an issue that concerned members of the LGBT commission. A man who identifies as a woman but who has not had a sex change operation may be denied entry to a woman's no-freeze shelter, or vice versa, they said.
But that would change under the new ordinances.
The mayor has one week to approve or veto the ordinances, Cotto said. If he does nothing, they will be approved by default.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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