Chicago to add gender identity to antidiscrimination law

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 02 2002 12:00 AM ET

The Chicago city council's human relations committee has recommended adding language to the city's human rights ordinance that will protect transgendered people from discrimination in housing, employment, and credit, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Committee members, who unanimously approved the addition, said it was long overdue and expected the measure to pass at next Wednesday's city council meeting. "I'm sorry that it took so long for us to get this passed," said Mary Ann Smith, a cosponsor of the measure.

If it is passed by the full city council, Chicago will join almost 50 other cities nationwide, including Dallas, New York, and Philadelphia, that have added gender identity to local civil rights laws.

Catherine Sikora, who identifies as a "nonoperative transsexual," told aldermen that the longer they waited to pass the ordinance, the longer people would think it was acceptable to discriminate against individuals like her. "As long as mass media and popular culture portray gender-variant people negatively...then we as a society are saying it's acceptable to do harm to this group," she said. "Let's send a message that we do not accept discrimination in our city."