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Pennsylvania city passes bill to protect and include transgender and non-binary youth. Photo : Michelle Myers / AL DIA News
Three bills were introduced to prevent discrimination against the transgender and non-binary community in Philadelphia. 

Philadelphia passes bill to protect and include transgender and non-binary youth

Philadelphia City Council passes a package of bills to promote the safety, dignity, and inclusion of the transgender, non-binary and gender-expansive community…

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Since 2017, there have been more than 30 nationwide policies affecting transgender people's ability to join the military, enter shelters, use bathrooms and hold jobs, according to The National Center for Transgender Equality.

On October 3, Philadelphia City Council passed three bills to protect the transgender and non-binary youth community.  

“For far too long, trans and non-binary people have lived with the uncertainty that their jobs and their lives are not protected. Every Philadelphian deserves the right to live their life with dignity. Today, we move closer to that goal,” said Councilmember Helen Gym, who introduced the bills.

They are the following.

 

1. Youth-serving organizations won’t be able to discriminate.

“At a time when the President of the United States has so consistently targeted our trans and gender non-conforming citizens, it’s more important than ever that Philadelphia stands in solidarity with them to say that our city is a place of sanctuary for trans and gender non-conforming citizens, and all those who face hostility from our President,” said Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center. 

 

This bill will aid Bartlett’s assertion by requiring youth-serving organizations to have policies in place to protect trans and non-binary youth from discrimination. 

They’re also required to be displayed in a physical location accessible to all at the organizations’ facilities and appear on the organizations’ websites.

Additionally, they will be required to regularly train all staff that works with young people to prevent any kind of discrimination. Likewise, they will also have to ensure that the youth population knows about the non-discrimination policies and in the language, they’re most comfortable with.


2. City Hall will now have gender-neutral bathrooms.

 “Sometimes, people tell me how hard it is for them to use they/them pronouns. I don’t need to hear that it is hard. I don’t expect people to be perfect, I only ask for people to try, and to respect me for who I am,” said Itzela, a non-binary student and an advocate with Philly Family Pride.

City Hall will have at least one gender-neutral bathroom on each floor and in every city-owned building. 

Additionally, starting with 2013, Philly will release a list of all the locations of gender-neutral bathrooms installed in city-owned or occupied buildings.

 

3. An expanded definition of sexual orientation and gender identity

“Unlike some states, Pennsylvania does not have a state law specifically protecting all children served by the foster care or juvenile justice systems from discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Christina Sorenson, a fellow at the Juvenile Justice Law Center.

 

The Fair Practice Ordinance already prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in Philadelphia.  However, this amendment will immediately expand the definitions to:

 

 

 
Editor's note: AL DIA is working on a series of articles called: “The many faces of transgender people”. If you or anyone you know has a story to share, please send an email to [email protected]
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