The city council in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday night unanimously approved an ordinance that will protect transgendered people from discrimination in public facilities, restaurants, shops, and cafes. "This is not just another ordinance, but a real step forward for human rights," Oakland resident Jill King told the Alameda Times-Star. Under the new law, transgendered people will be able to access rest rooms and dressing rooms set aside for the gender they identify with, even if it is different than their actual or perceived gender.
"There is still work to be done," Councilmember Danny Wan told the Times-Star. Wan called for education for the public and training for city employees, but because city funds are running low, there is no money available for new education and outreach programs. Patricia Kevena Fili, development coordinator for AIDS Project East Bay, said the change is an official acknowledgment of the right of transgendered people to demand protection under the law. "The ordinance lets them know that the city cares about them and considers them part of the community," Fili said. "A lot more is needed, but it's a start." Final approval of the ordinance is set for January 6.