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