August 21, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Florida county adopts trans ordinance
Pinellas County, Florida, transgender, gay news, Washington Blade, ordinance

The new ordinance passed in Pinellas County would prohibit most organizations in the county from discriminating against trans people. (Image public domain, modified with trans flag photo by Michael Key)

CLEARWATER, Fla.—The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday voted 6-1 to add gender identity to the county’s human rights ordinance.

The Tampa Tribune reported the proposal would prohibit most organizations in the county from discriminating against trans people in employment, housing and public accommodations. These include access to public restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity and expression.

“We cannot legislate against what is people’s hearts and minds, but we can set policy to protect every member of our community,” Commissioner Charlie Justice said as the Tampa Tribune reported.

The vote took place a week after Alachua County, in which the city of Gainesville and the University of Florida are located, approved a similar ordinance. Palm Beach, Broward, Monroe and Leon Counties and the cities of St. Augustine and Venice are among the other Florida municipalities that have enacted trans-inclusive human rights ordinances.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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