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Ft. Worth City Council Passes Inclusive Non-Discrimination Policy

November 11, 2009 By: texasman Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

Ft Worth EqualityThe Fort Worth City Council listened to several hours of comment on the recommendation of the Diversity Council to add transgender language to the city’s non-discrimination policy.

The GLBT community was present with well over a hundred representatives. Many spoke in support of the new change in law, including transgender people, parents of transgender people, gays, lesbians, and even straight allies.

In opposition were several people from the community including several lawyers, conservatives, and Christians. While most contended that they were not hateful of gay people they feared the new ordinance, it’s language, and its affect on the youth of the community.

Finally, after all the public spoke, the council voted to approve the measure in a 6 to 3 vote. The debate was strong on both sides, but the city of Fort Worth voted to protect the rights of transgender people, as well as gender identity and gender expression. Under the new ordinance all public places will have to ensure that they are not discriminating in this manner.

The city will begin to place this in new contracts and is hoping to ensure that those doing business with the city will also protect the rights of the GLBT community.

There are several items that are continuing to be carried forth by the city including, diversity training, education of the public about the law, and working to hire more GLBT people.

MarlinMarlin: You may remember Marlin from an earlier episode of Closet Talk. Since then, he’s been keeping us up to date on the happenings in Ft. Worth after the fateful raid of the Rainbow Lounge. Marlin is a former pulpit minister turned activist.

What I Learned from The Austin Marriage Equality Rally

November 08, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

Several dozen people walk the streets of Austin, Texas to support LGBT Rights and show solidarity with Maine.

Several dozen people walk the streets of Austin, Texas to support LGBT Rights and show solidarity with Maine.

On Saturday, November 8, 2009, Christopher and I jumped in my car and began the long drive to Austin, Texas.  We had seen on facebook that nearly 200 people had confirmed to attend a marriage equality rally in Austin, Texas to show solidarity with the election in Maine.  We had hoped for a large turnout; however, upon arriving at the rally point, only about 20 people were standing around the small stage, still furiously attempting to make their signs for the impromptu rally.

As we were setting up and preparing to live blog the event for iQreport, we were advised that the rally would start a bit later than planned as more people were still arriving.  At 1:30 p.m. Ambri Williams took to the stage and called upon those attending to demand their equal rights. The small crowd, which had grown to about 50 people, responded.  Dana Cloud rallied the troops and permit-less activists began marching through the streets of Austin, chanting things like, “Hey, hey, ho ho transphobia has got to go” and “Obama, Obama, let mama marry mama.”

The number of marchers began increasing and, as we passed by a local Austin gay bar, Oil Can Charlies, patrons and those nearby joined the marchers as we continued disrupting lunches and other Saturday afternoon business with our demands for equal treatment under the law.  It was a moment of visibility.  In spite of the small turn out, it worked.  People listened, applauded, honked and joined in the movement.

Dana Cloud, coordinator of Join the Impact – Austin, called for the event, along with several other well connected organizations around the country.  I spoke with Dana briefly after the rally and asked her about the importance of these rallies:

I must admit that I was a bit disappointed by the small turnout for the rally and march.  After the dust settled, Christopher, the love of my life, and I went to a local Chinese restaraunt.  When he opened his fortune cookie, I learned that the numbers matter less than the cause:

Stand up for what you believe in even if it's not popular