Human rights groups praised the Cook County, Ill., board of commissioners for joining Chicago in extending antidiscrimination protections to transgendered people. The move Tuesday adds people acting or identifying themselves as members of the opposite sex to the list of groups protected from discrimination in housing and in the workplace. "We already had a human rights ordinance, so this just extended some of those same rights and protections to what can often be described as a gender-variant community," said Chicago commissioner Mike Quigley, one of the ordinance amendment's sponsors.
Rick Garcia, political director of the advocacy group Equality Illinois, said the action is significant because the city and county have about 5.4 million people--more than most states. "Transgendered people traditionally have been some of the most abused, most discriminated against minorities in society," he said. "We've had a number of documented cases of discrimination against transgendered people in Cook County and Chicago."