News release 2009 Nov 9

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 9, 2009

Contact:

David Caldwell, Spokesperson,
Ask Cleveland: 216 965 3690 cell 
david@askcleveland.org

Jennifer Dowd, Field Director,
Ask Cleveland: 863 944 3410 cell
 jenn@askcleveland.org

 

THOUSANDS OF CLEVELANDERS CALL ON COUNCIL TO PASS TRANSGENDER RIGHTS ORDINANCE

Residents of all 21 wards will present postcards signed by fellow constituents to their Council representatives

CLEVELAND, OHIO -- Ask Cleveland, Cleveland's most active LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights organization, announced today that Cleveland volunteers will present more than 2,500 postcards from supporters of a transgender non-discrimination law to members of Cleveland City Council before Monday evening’s Council meeting. The postcards, signed by voters across the city, urge council to enact legislation that would add gender identity and gender expression to the city’s existing non-discrimination law.

 

“Right now, its legal to fire someone from a job, throw them out of housing, or even deny them service in a restaurant just because they’re transgender,” explained David Caldwell, spokesperson for Ask Cleveland. Transgender people, including thousands of people in our city, make up one of the most marginalized groups in society. A 2006 study concluded that the unemployment rate for transgender people was 35%, with 59% earning less than $15,300 annually. Many of Ask Cleveland’s own transgender volunteers have suffered discrimination -- discrimination that is currently legal.

Ask Cleveland Volunteers Talk with Thousands of Cleveland Voters

In response to an August survey by the Gay People’s Chronicle, an Ohio gay newspaper, only 8 of the 21 members of City Council expressed support for the non-discrimination law. "It will be much easier for members of Council to publicly express their support for this law -- and vote to pass it -- knowing that thousands of the voters they represent are asking them to support it," added Caldwell.


Ask Cleveland, a volunteer-based grassroots organization, has been working since May to organize supporters of the law in Cleveland.  Hundreds of volunteers have talked with thousands of voters where they live - Glenville, Fairfax, Collinwood, Edgewater and other neighborhoods. “We’ve seen overwhelming support for legislation that would protect transgender people in our city,” said Jennifer Dowd, Ask Cleveland’s field director, “and it’s clear that voters want Cleveland to join the many cities throughout Ohio that already have laws like this one.”


Most other large cities in Ohio, including Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Dayton, as well as the Cleveland suburbs Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, already protect transgender people from discrimination.

Transgender Rights Gaining Momentum Nationwide

Voters continue to express support for transgender non-discrimination laws at the ballot box. In March, voters in Gainesville, Florida, defeated a ballot measure that would have removed protections for transgender people from that city’s laws. Also, just last week, voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan, came out to the polls to overwhelmingly support a law that protects LGBT people from discrimination in their city. “We believe the tide is turning, and people throughout the country know that everyone deserves the chance to work and live without the threat of discrimination,” Caldwell explained.

 

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Ask Cleveland is a broad-based organization of gay rights supporters in greater Cleveland working to protect and advance equal rights for the LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) community.  Ask Cleveland believes that the LGBT community will achieve its goals sooner and more sustainably by inviting more people to participate in the process of securing equal rights for all.  For more information, or to make a financial contribution, visit http://www.askcleveland.org/ 

 


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