By Michael K. Browne, Assistant Director – Complaint Investigations
Today, at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Minneapolis City Council, the proposed amendment to create the independent protected class of “Gender Identity” was unanimously approved in a 12-0 vote (one council member was absent). With this approval, the amendment is now ready for the Mayor of Minneapolis to sign it into law, which could likely take place next week.
Shortly before the vote, Council Vice President Robert Lilligren (Ward 6), the sponsor of the amendment, spoke in support of the motion. He briefly explained the genealogy of the ordinance change in Minneapolis, which has progressed from such terminology as affectional preference and sexual orientation, to the contemporary gender identity. “This represents an important evolution,” he said. Graciously, he acknowledged the work of OutFront Minnesota and the Department, stating “how important it was to the Trans[gender] community.”
This amendment carries on the rich tradition in Minneapolis of being a pioneer in advancing civil rights protections in the area of gender and sexuality. This modification to Minneapolis’ anti-discrimination law will also help to eradicate a perception expressed by individuals whose rights are protected under gender identity, that they are misunderstood, invisible, or somehow a subset of protected individuals. After the vote, it was hard not to think of the message inscribed in the statute of former City Council Member Brian Coyle (located in the first floor of City Hall) that this change in the law today embodied his message: “Keep up the fight for justice.”
This post is an update to the following previous articles: