DALLAS (CBS11) – Leslie McMurray says she first came out as transgender three years ago.
She welcomes a proposed update to the city of Dallas’ anti-discrimination ordinance that specifies gender identity and gender expression in addition to sexual orientation.
McMurray says, “We just want basic human rights and it makes me very happy to see Dallas extending those to us.”
On Monday, the Dallas city council’s Quality of Life & Environment Committee approved sending the proposal to the full city council for a vote Tuesday afternoon.
If approved by city council, it would among other things clarify that “a person’s gender is determined by the person’s own perception of their gender.”
Omar Narvaez, a member of the Dallas LGBT Task Force says there’s no controversy surrounding the change — because the city’s 2002 ordinance already offered full protection against discrimination to the LGBT community.
He says it’s making the words better reflect the rules. “It’s a simple clean-up of language. That’s all it is. It’s not adding any protections, it’s not taking away any protections. It’s leaving everything the way it is for 13 years in Dallas. It’s worked for 13 years in Dallas.”
Last year, Dallas residents voted to update the city’s charter.
The charter now has the same language as proposed changes to the city’s ordinance.
As for Leslie McMurray, she had gender-confirmation surgery last year, and has two children and three grandchildren. “To us, it’s not just words. It’s more of a validation of who we are.”
She thinks an updated city ordinance will help people in the transgender community.
“I think to younger transgender kids that are now feeling it’s ok for the first time to come out and say who they are, it sends a real clear message to them that we are welcome, that they’re part of the community and that their identities are respected.”
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