Proposed Amendment to the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance will Distinguish “Gender Identity”

By Michael K. Browne, Assistant Director – Complaint Investigations

Many proud Minneapolitans know our city is a recognized leader in advancing civil rights protections with regard to sexuality and gender.

In fact, Minneapolis was the first city in the United States to make discrimination based on gender identity illegal. Click the following link for a short history: [Minnesota Human Rights — Gender Protections].  Minnesota followed suit, proving local leadership can encourage state change.  When it comes to expanding, clarifying, or modernizing civil rights protections, change is good — it reflects the evolution of culture and tradition.  At its best, it recognizes voices previously dismissed or even silenced.

Many proud Minneapolitans also know that the concepts of sexuality and gender delineated in the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance (MCRO) are presently “lumped together,” which has caused some confusion.  In an effort to continue the progressive intent of our local civil rights legislation, and bring the ordinance language into the 21st century, the Minneapolis City Council is considering an amendment to the MCRO, found here: [Public Safety, Civil Rights & Health Agenda], which would distinguish “sexual orientation” from “gender identity.”

The proposed modification would continue Minneapolis’ civil rights tradition.  Here is how…it would help eradicate the perception expressed by individuals, whose rights would be protected under “gender identity,” that they are presently misunderstood or invisible.  The change would also help clarify that “gender identity” is a protected class to Minneapolis’ legal community and residents.

The proposal is currently set for a public hearing at the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Health Committee on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. in City Hall Room 317.

Click on the following links for more information on the proposal and to review the suggested “gender identity” definition:

[Request for City Council Committee Action from the Department of Civil Rights PDF]

[Amending Title 7, Ch 139 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances relating to Civil Rights PDF]

[Amending Title 7, Ch 141 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances relating to Civil Rights: Administration and Enforcement PDF]

You are welcome to join us at the meeting and share your comments about the proposed amendments.

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3 Responses to Proposed Amendment to the Minneapolis Civil Rights Ordinance will Distinguish “Gender Identity”

  1. Leigh Smythe says:

    This ordinance change is so vital to combating discrimination. Too often, people in the legal community think they have accomplished something when they have accomplished a good result when they implement legal language. It works in legal circles and the lawyers know what it means, but plain simple easy to understand language sets a tone to everyone to spread the effect to a wider base clearly so the effect is understood more widely than just the legal community, by club owners, landlords,grocery stores and on the streets, where people not steeped in the esoteria of legal language live, work, buy gas, and conduct their lives, This addition does this. It updates the ordinance, but, further, it clarifies it so that all people, except those who don’t want to understand can be clear on what is meant. So, much of our lives never gets into court, or legal circles, we need this to set a tone beyond the court room with clarity.
    Leigh Smythe

  2. Pingback: Update: Proposed Amendment to Ordinance will Distinguish “Gender Identity” | Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights

  3. Pingback: Minneapolis City Council Approves the “Gender Identity” Ordinance Amendment « Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights

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