Wednesday, October 23, 2013

10-24-13 fdl council discusses ordinance change to prevent discrimination against transgender persons

There's mixed reaction on the Fond du Lac city council  to a proposed change in the city’s fair housing ordinance designed to prevent discrimination against transgender persons.   The council discussed the issue at a committee of the whole workshop Wednesday night.  Councilmember Dan Manning is proposing  that gender identity and expression be added to the list of protected classes.  "This is important because as a city if we're not willing to provide protection for all of our citizens than we're not doing our job,"  Manning told WFDL news.  "More than one in five transgender individuals have been homeless because of discrimination and more than one in ten have been evicted from their homes because of discrimination based on their gender identity or expression and because there's a lack of clarity in our laws both federal, state and local.  Those statistics are probably far greater than we know because of under reporting."    But councilmember Lee Ann Lorrigan says she is not sure if the change Is necessary.    "You know I'm going back and forth.  I understand the clarity of the whole situation, but yet I have a lot of people still concerned that it might be adding more concerns for landlords,"  Lorrigan said.   Lorrigan questioned where the list of protected classes would stop, using an analogy  about dumb, tall, skinny blondes.    Manning says that’s not an appropriate analogy.  "I haven't heard a lot of statistics about tall, skinny blondes being evicted from their houses,"  Manning said.  Councilmembers Karen Merkel and Brian Foster say they haven’t decided how they will vote and want more feedback from the public.  Councilmember Catherine Block says there are no negatives in making the changes and plans to vote in favor.  "I will say its much ado about nothing,"  Block said.  The matter is expected to come before the council at their first regular meeting in November.

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