Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Ordinance Back on the Table

Once again, the City Council is contemplating the necessity for modifying its nondiscrimination ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity under its protection. This time, Councilmember Shea Flinn is proposing the ordinance and requesting that a study be done on discrimination in the city government to find out if there is really a "problem."

Read more... Council to revisit gender discrimination

No doubt that even if those against the ordinance allow a study to be conducted, they will diminish the findings no matter what they reveal. It is unlikely that this well-intentioned study will be able to measure the effects of insidious institutional homophobia on hiring, firing and promotional practices, much less on the effects of socially acceptable and deeply-rooted bigotry in the work environment of LGBTQI city employees.

Although it is obviously not enough to "legalize gay," a failure to provide these very basic legal protections lends legitimacy to anti-LGBTQI civil rights activists and further isolates an already stigmatized minority. While the entire country is focused on the recent spate of highly publicized teen suicides--which is certainly not a new phenomenon--the City Council needs to show that yes, it does "get better," even in Memphis, Tennessee.

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