Chicago ordinance gives transgender people bathroom rights

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CHICAGO (AP) — Transgender people in Chicago will be able to use a public bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity under an ordinance passed by the city’s aldermen.

Aldermen approved the change in Chicago’s human rights ordinance Wednesday. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says it closes a legal loophole that could “inadvertently” allow restaurants, hotels and other “public accommodations” to discriminate against transgender people.

Before Wednesday’s action, the ordinance, among the first in the nation that included gender identity as a protected class, exempted bathrooms. It required people to use the bathroom matching the sex on their government-issued identification.

The CEO of gay rights group Equality Illinois, Brian Johnson, says the ordinance is about more than public accommodations. It is in his words “about standing up for the dignity of all Chicagoans.”

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