Baltimore County city council approves transgender protections bill


The City Council in Baltimore County, Md. has approved a measure that would protect transgender people from discrimination, making the county the fourth local government in Maryland to adopt such protections.

The bill would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations.

The council approved the legislation 5-2, along party lines — five Democrats voted in favor, and the two Republicans on the council voted against.

The bill was brought on by a high-profile attack on a transgender woman at an area McDonald’s last year.

Council members did not add a heavily debated amendment proposed last week that would have specifically exempted bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms, reported the Baltimore Sun.

Instead, the council left the bathroom issue open to interpretation in the legislation, amending the measure so that the protections do not apply to “distinctly private or personal” facilities.

“Whether you’re a woman, whether you’re male, whether you’re female, African-American, gay, lesbian, transgender, this bill is simple. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly,” said Tom Quirk, Baltimore County Council.

“This bill is a human rights bill, and I’m proud of Baltimore County tonight,” Quirk said.

In April 2011, Chrissy Lee Polis was attacked when she got into a confrontation with two female patrons over use of the women’s restroom. Only one person, a 55-year-old woman tried to help Polis, others stood and watched the attack, some laughing, while an employee used his cell phone’s video camera to record the assault.

The attack was videotaped and went viral online, with hundreds of thousands of views on numerous websites.

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