Lambda Legal Applauds Cleveland City Council Vote to Strike Transgender Exclusion from Nondiscrimination Law

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July 13, 2016

The Cleveland City Council tonight passed an amendment to the city nondiscrimination ordinance that strikes a provision that allowed private business owners with public accommodations to dictate which bathroom a patron could use. The amendment helps ensure that transgender people have safe and equal access to the facilities that match their gender identity.

We applaud the Cleveland City Council for taking this important and powerful action to protect and affirm transgender people, especially during a time when we see legislators, guided by misinformation and anti-trans bias, do the exact opposite and restrict people’s access to public facilities.

The preliminary results of a survey of transgender people, released just earlier this week, confirm what we have already known for a long time - that targeting transgender people and their access to restrooms has real effects on the health and safety of this community. Fifty-nine percent of the people surveyed reported that they avoided restrooms for fear of a confrontation, 12% reported having been harassed or assaulted in a restroom and 8% reported having kidney-related health problems resulting from their avoidance of a restroom.

The amendment passed today updates the local nondiscrimination ordinance by striking language that allowed for business owners with public facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms to police and dictate who could have access to those facilities based on gender identity. This update respects the lived reality of transgender people and helps ensure that this community is treated with dignity and respect.

Read the press release.