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The Dallas Area Rapid Transit board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve protections for transgender employees, but the precise wording of the measure remains in question.
According to the Dallas Voice, which supplied video of the event, "About 50 people from the LGBT community packed the DART meeting with roughly 10 of them addressing the board during a public comment period. They called on board members to approve the policy after first removing the word 'except,' which was inserted by the board last week."
Prior to removal of the word, the updated policy had read, "DART is committed to hiring, promoting, and retaining the best qualified persons in all positions and, except to the extent permitted by federal and/or Texas law, DART will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by law."
Critics blasted the agency for use of the word "except" and charged that DART sought to take advantage of a loophole, given that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is permitted under federal and Texas state law.
The Voice reports that while advocates cheered the vote Tuesday as a step forward, they expressed concerns about the substitute language, which they plan to discuss with DART in upcoming days.
DART operates bus lines, light rail lines, and commuter rails that serve more than 220,000 people daily in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
Watch the video below.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/v/SC16Z2gNbco&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1 expand=1 site_id=25879312]