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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 5, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 49
Miami and Toledo pass Trans protections
Section One
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Miami and Toledo pass Trans protections

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Two major American cities - Miami, Florida, and Toledo, Ohio - passed new legal protections for their Transgender residents December 2.

The Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners passed a sweeping ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on a person's gender identity in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The vote was 8-3. Miami-Dade County is the largest municipal jurisdiction in Florida.

Miami Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez plans to sign the ordinance, his spokesperson Mike Hernández told BuzzFeed News.

'He is 100% supportive. The mayor will not veto - it will become law,' Hernandez said.

Meanwhile, the Toledo City Council added gender identity to its hate crimes law.

In Miami, the commissioners acted after a long night of contentious testimony, much of it reprising old scare tactics concerning restrooms.

'There are cases of the deviants who will take advantage of this,' said Commissioner Esteban Bovo, who was one of the three No votes.

'We have to be mindful of a segment of the population, who is probably a majority, who is very concerned with this issue,' he said. 'It is a concern for the safety of their family.'

Bovo wanted an exception inserted in the ordinance to prevent Transgender people from using public bathrooms, but he was defeated. The only exemption in the measure as passed is for religious institutions in their religious facilities, but church-owned commercial ventures must accommodate Trans people.

'It's a scare tactic when we come down to the bathrooms and locker rooms,' said Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, one of the ordinance's primary co-sponsors. 'These are scare tactics.'

She also refuted opponents' claims that the ordinance was unnecessary.

'When someone has been discriminated against, I don't care if it is one person, we were elected to defend those people and provide the protection that they need,' Edmonson said.

The Toledo hate crimes measure was inspired by a brutal assault on a local Trans activist in November.

Candice Rose Milligan addressed the Council meeting with her broken jaw wired shut. She was pleased the Council had passed the measure, she said, and hoped it would spark a change in state law.

House Bill 300, which is pending in the state legislature, would expand the Ohio state hate crimes law to include crimes committed against people because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or disabilities.

Councilman Jack Ford, who sponsored the Toledo ordinance, said he wants the attack on Milligan to be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. A 20-year-old man has been arrested in the case and has been charged with robbery and attempt to inflict or threaten serious physical harm on another.

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