Post submitted by Shelena Williams, Former HRC Regional Field Organizer
The San Antonio City Council today passed updates to city ordinances that ban discrimination against LGBT San Antonio residents in contracting, housing, public accommodations and city employment. The updates passed in an 8 to 3 vote, and despite an ugly smear campaign mounted by anti-LGBT activists that included harmful propaganda directed particularly at transgender San Antonians.
HRC is proud to have worked alongside a local coalition of fair-minded San Antonioans, The Community Alliance for a United San Antonio (CAUSA) for the last ten months, to move this ordinance to a successful vote of the city council. After having an HRC organizer on the ground for several months, HRC and Equality Texas teamed up to hire local organizer, DeAnne Cuellar, to assist in the everyday work of the coalition to help bring us to the finish line. We hope these kinds of local, state and national partnerships will continue to bring equality to the great state of Texas and beyond.
Special recognition goes to the tireless work of CAUSA’s co-chairs, Dee Belmares and Dan Graney, and to the leadership of the San Antonio Gender Association, and the Transgender Education Network of Texas, whose vital education of the public and council members about the real lives of transgender individuals was the key to passing an ordinance that for the first time institutes protections for our transgender family, friends and neighbors in San Antonio.
HRC’s San Antonio Steering Committee member, Jennifer Ingram, was a leading voice in the fight for fairness in San Antonio. Jennifer, a San Antonio native, transgender woman, and veteran has been an advocate for many years. She was recently featured in an article by the San Antonio Express News about the impact that banning discrimination against transgender people would have on her life. Jennifer's story, like many others, is one of a hard working person just trying to live a full life and provide for her family—and now thankfully she has some protections in place to do just that.
Thanks also go to San Antonio Councilmember Diego Bernal, who introduced these commonsense ordinance updates and fought hard for them, with the strong support of Mayor Julian Castro and other fair-minded Councilmembers.
We are looking forward to working with the San Antonio City Council as we continue to advance nondiscrimination protections for everyone in America’s seventh most populous city. Today is a day to celebrate.