Plano Texas amends their non discrimination policy amid right-wing furor

Plano pinned tweet

Plano Mayor’s Office pinned tweet.

Plano  well-known as a über conservative Texas town has just amended their Equal Rights Policy to include transgender people. That in itself isn’t surprising since cities across Texas have felt compelled to do the ‘right thing’ and protect all their citizens equally.

But in this case there’s a back story .

Plano Texas is also home to Liberty Institute a vehemently anti LGBT organization that uses Christianity as a proxy to fight progressive legislation. So why would Plano decide to make this move, knowing one of their hometown organizations lists the ACLU as their primary foe?

Word on the street is Toyota asked them to do it.

Toyota’s  North American headquarters is finishing it’s move to Plano this fall of and undoubtedly wanted Plano to have a non discrimination policy the would do justice to their 100% on HRC CEI . Being a global company they  are aware that the countries with LGBT inclusive laws fare better economically.

Matt Shaheen

State Rep. Matt Shaheen self-proclaimed ‘family value’s’ politician.

 

State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, who was representing a group of elected officials opposed to the ordinance, told council members that instead of adding sexual orientation and gender identity to nondiscrimination laws, they should consider removing blacks and women.

“Do we really think the citizens of Plano are going to discriminate against women or minorities or African-Americans? I don’t think so,” Shaheen said. “I would ask you to consider that — not adding classes, but taking away classes.”

Baptist Deacon Matt Shaheen forgot to mention that he was born and bred in Virginia, USA. Is that part of the middle east? I guess. Middle eastern America that is. He’s s white privileged radical tea bagger who couldn’t imagine that minorities are ever discriminated against in Plano Texas or anywhere else for that matter. He’s so surprised that he recommends doing away with equal rights laws all together. That way America could have the equality he envisions.

Makes me wonder what his real reason was for mentioning that the Mayor is a person of color, knowing that a lawsuit and possible recall effort was imminent.

How this flew under the radar. It was meant to. Unbeknownst to many, Plano’s city council had been in contact with state LGBT organizations, but had only accepted limited council.  Plano wanted to draft an ordnance that they felt would  make Toyota employees feel safe, yet offer enough exemptions so even the most hateful of organization wouldn’t complain.

They obviously have never had direct dealings with the ‘liberty institute’

The non discrimination ordinance as amended…

  • (13) Gender Identity shall mean a person’s innate, deeply felt sense of gender,
    which may or may not correspond to the person’s physical anatomy and also
    includes a person’s gender expression through external characteristics and
    behaviors including, but not limited to, dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech
    patterns and social interactions, that are identified with a particular gender or
    sexual orientation.
  • Public Accommodations.
    (1) Unlawful practice. It shall be unlawful for any person with care, custody or
    control over the premises of a place of public accommodation or for any owner
    employee or agent, of a place of public accommodation to discriminate against
    any person on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual
    orientation, gender identity, disability status or United States military/veteran
    status, directly or indirectly, by excluding, segregating, limiting, refusing or
    denying to a person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, benefits,
    services or goods, offered to the general public at a place of public
    accommodation.
  • (3) Exclusions. It shall not be unlawful to deny the opposite sex access to facilities
    inside a public accommodation segregated on the basis of sex for privacy such as
    restrooms, shower facilities, locker rooms, dressing rooms or any similar facility.

The Ordinance has received a lukewarm reception by major state LGBT organizations because of Plano’s rather ambiguous and unique definition of sex.

  • (26) Sex shall mean gender and the biological differences between men and
    women

Some transgender people who could have been included in the authorship phase were angry at not being consulted.

Nell Gaither, president of Texas  Trans Pride Initiative told the Planet in a email,

“This is a problematic ordinance that has some incredible exclusions that seem to provide a legal basis to discriminate, especially against trans persons.”

“This seems to establish a legal basis allowing such discrimination. Trans persons are the ones who are going to be most affected, but exclusion of services that marginalized persons are more likely to access shows that this is written specifically to apply to persons of privilege (the Toyota employees soon to arrive?), and to exclude persons experiencing crises or less access to life opportunities.”

“Further,” Gaither explains “the public accommodations clause excludes many trans persons with this exemption: “It shall not be unlawful to deny the opposite sex access to facilities inside a public accommodation segregated on the basis of sex for privacy such as restrooms, shower facilities, locker rooms, dressing rooms or any similar facility.”

“The City Attorney said pretty clearly that they are instating a simplistic “genital rule” with this, meaning in a worse-case scenario trans persons (or anyone that doesn’t “do” gender according to stereotypical expectations) could be subject to a genital check to access gender-segregated public spaces. The actual result is probably not that, but would be persons in charge of gender-segregated spaces have the legal right to demand to see ID with gender marker (or possibly a birth certificate?) of anyone they deem to not meet their understanding of stereotypical gender-appropriate appearance or behavior.”

“Also, according to statements by the City Attorney at the beginning of the discussion, all that any entity needs to do to exempt themselves from coverage is to claim a religious waiver. She seemed to be emphasizing that getting waivers would be a very easy process.”

The question I’d like to put forth to our readers is this. Is this a non discrimination ordinance(NDO) that you would defend, or would you let events unfold uncontested.
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Editor in Chief at

Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.

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