Last Friday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson signed an amendment to the city’s non-discrimination ordinance into law. This vital piece of legislation protects the right of transgender people to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity. While city law prohibited anti-transgender discrimination in employment and public accommodations, due to exemptions in the 2009 legislation, transgender people have continued to face legal discrimination in access to single-sex facilities such as locker rooms and restrooms. The Cleveland City Council voted unanimously in favor of the bill 16-0 earlier this month.
The nearly three-year campaign to pass the ordinance ended successfully after a Herculean effort by Cleveland is Ready, a powerful coalition of diverse partners. HRC was an active member of the coalition for the past year, with HRC Regional Field Organizer Lindsey Clark serving as field director for the effort. HRC also contributed $25,000 to the coalition's work.
Two individuals were singled out during the hearing and approval process for their extraordinary contributions to assuring passage of the ordinance: Alana Jochum, Executive Director of Equality Ohio and an HRC alum, and Sherry Bowman, community engagement co-chair for HRC Cleveland’s steering committee community. Sherry and Alana gave their all to this effort and we're so proud to have them in our HRC family.
HRC extends a profound thank you to the lead sponsors of the legislation, Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland and former Councilman Joe Cimperman, as well as Mayor Frank Jackson and the Cleveland City Council for standing on the right side of history. We also thank our many coalition partners including Equality Ohio and Movement in Black, whose members worked tirelessly to ensure that this important measure passed. We're honored to be a part of making history in Cleveland alongside such strong, incredible partners.