MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

SAVE Dade seeks transgender protections in Miami-Dade County

 

srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

SAVE Dade on Tuesday launched a “ TransEquality“ campaign to add gender identity and expression to Miami-Dade County’s current human rights ordinance.

“I started at SAVE five years ago and it was part of our five-year strategy,” said C.J. Ortuño, executive director of SAVE Dade, the county’s largest gay-rights group. “Along with getting an openly gay person elected to state office, we had also set a goal of passing a trans-inclusive human rights ordinance.”

In 2012, SAVE Dade helped elect gay accountant David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat, to the Florida Legislature. Now, the focus is on transgender rights.

“Being that gender rights were never included in the original human rights ordinance, transgenders here in Miami-Dade County have no protection when it comes to employment discrimination, housing discrimination, etc.,” said trans activist Aryah Lester, 33, of Miami Beach. “Unless you live under a certain jurisdiction such as Miami Beach, which has its own ordinance, you can be fired legally just simply for being transgender, with no other reason.”

Miami-Dade County passed its first gay-rights ordinance in January 1977. A campaign by singer Anita Bryant led to its repeal the following June. Twenty-one years later, the county commission passed a new law, which voters upheld in 2002.

The existing Miami-Dade law doesn’t cover transgender people. Monroe County and Key West updated their human rights ordinances in 2003, Miami Beach in 2004, Palm Beach County in 2007 and Broward in 2008. Other Florida cities that protect on the basis of gender identity and expression include Gainesville, Tampa and Oakland Park.

Ortuño believes Miami-Dade County will update its ordinance by the end of the year.

In May, Commissioners Bruno Barreiro and Audrey Edmonson filed a trans-inclusive amendment, which was co-sponsored by Commissioners Barbara Jordan and Sally Heyman. The amendment passed on first reading with an 11-1 vote. Only Miami-Dade Commission Vice Chairwoman Lynda Bell voted against.

Next, the amendment must pass the commission’s Health and Social Services Committee, which is chaired by Edmonson. A vote is scheduled on July 8. If three of five committee members approve the amendment, it goes back to the full commission for a final vote, probably in the fall.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has said he will sign the amendment, according to Ortuño.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category