Archive for Thursday, November 19, 2009

Commission votes against including gender identity in Lawrence’s anti-discrimination policy

November 19, 2009, 1:11 p.m. Updated November 20, 2009, 12:00 a.m.


The Lawrence Human Relations Commission is recommending against adding gender identity as a protected status to the city’s anti-discrimination policy.

Following about an hour of discussion and public comment at Thursday’s meeting, a motion to recommend adding gender identity to the policy failed with three votes in favor and six against.

The Lawrence City Commission in May asked the Human Relations Commission to make a recommendation after a request by the Kansas Equality Coalition. The commission discussed the issue for several months and hosted a public forum in August.

Adding gender identity to the policy would have provided protections against discrimination for people who identify or express themselves as a gender other than the one assigned at birth. Examples include transsexuals or someone who has male biological traits, but presents himself as a woman, and vice versa.

Of the 13 community members who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting Thursday, 10 stated opposition to adding gender identity to the policy.

The concerns mentioned included the expense of adding and enforcing changes in the policy, ambiguity in the language of the term gender identity, and concerns about how the policy would affect public facilities such as public restrooms and shower facilities.

Local attorney Tim Riling argued that a policy change could create a situation where a man, dressed as a woman, could enter a women’s restroom to assault a woman or child.

“If passed, the city would be facilitating people with criminal intent,” Riling said.

Maggie Childs, from the Kansas Equality Coalition, was involved in the original request to the city, and said she expected the commission to vote for a change to the policy.

“I’m very surprised by the vote,” she said following the meeting. “I’m speechless, really.”

Childs said the opposition at Thursday’s meeting was in contrast to the support voiced for adding gender identity to the policy at the public forum on the issue in August.

Commission Chair Lori Tapahonso said that in the next few months the commission will present a report to the city about its decision, and she expects the city to follow the commission’s recommendation not to make changes to the policy.


4chewnut 8 years, 6 months ago

Could the reporter actually tell us who voted for and the idiots who voted against? And did they say why?

KS 8 years, 6 months ago

consumer1 - I won't! I agree with you. It is a good day for Lawrence.

cdc 8 years, 6 months ago

Is there anyone in the world who is a heterophobe? Being heterophobic would mean that you hate/are frightened of 90-98% of humanity, including your own parents (at least most of the time). Who has the energy/time for all that hate? No one except maybe the Phelps Family...and obviously they aren't focused on the heteros out there.

Shaun Hittle 8 years, 6 months ago

4chewnut, Sorry I'm just getting to this. But, this was the quick, breaking version of this story. A longer one will be in tomorrow's paper, and will provide more detail. However, how people voted is not available. They simply do it by number, not name, in a verbal vote. They do not record the names, and I was unable to determine who voted for what , other than a few of the commissioners.

When voting, they did not specify reasons.

Shaun Hittle LJW Reporter

4chewnut 8 years, 6 months ago

Shaun, Thanks for the reply. I do think it would be good to contact the commission and get who voted for and against and try to get a reason from them. thnks

monkeyhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps it would be better not to publish the names of those who voted no. You know how that retribution thing goes ...

cdc 8 years, 6 months ago

No one in Lawrence would "retaliate" against anyone who voted against this! Except maybe with their vote. Elected officials should be able to stand up for their point of view, no matter their stance. If you're a coward or unable to stand by your vote, you shouldn't be voting on issues such as this!

Liberty275 8 years, 6 months ago

Gender discrimination is sometimes justified. You probably wouldn't want your eagle scout going on jamboree with an older woman that likes wearing men's uniforms and teenage boys.

On the other hand, your son might like it. He might even get another badge.

parrothead8 8 years, 6 months ago

The anti-discrimination law pertains to employment relations, free and public accommodations, and housing. So, basically, the Lawrence City Commission just said it's okay to not hire people or rent them a place to live solely based on their gender identity.

It's always a banner day when we decide it's okay to discriminate against people who aren't doing anything illegal. Man, I love the smell of discrimination in the morning. It smells like...moral high ground.

Yeah, I'd be interested in knowing who voted which way, so I know which way to vote.

benanhalt 8 years, 6 months ago

«Local attorney Tim Riling argued that a policy change could create a situation where a man, dressed as a woman, could enter a women’s restroom to assault a woman or child.»

Shouldn't that be local_comedian Tom Riling? Surely no one could make an argument like that in all seriousness.

We should have a ban on people dressing their dogs up in sweaters. A wolf could dress himself up in an old granny sweater and sneak into granny's cottage in the forest. The better to fool little Red Riding Hood, my dear!

Randall Barnes 8 years, 6 months ago


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

Riling's comment was indeed idiotic. Does he really think that someone who is going to assault a woman or a child in a women's restroom will check to see if there is an anti-discrimination ordinance before doing so?

Scott Criqui 8 years, 6 months ago


Voting records are always open to the public.

Voting for: Tapahonso Criqui Diaz Moore

Voting against: Hodison Krug Leonard Dunn Johnson Barnhill

Note: None of these individuals are elected. They are appointed by the mayor, nor are they paid. They volunteer there time and services to the city.

Shaun Hittle 8 years, 6 months ago

Scriqui, Thanks for getting the voting information. I was planning on following up considering the interest expressed here.

Shaun Hittle Reporter LJW

parrothead8 8 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for posting this, scriqui. The original story, which has since been drastically modified, stated that the Lawrence City Commission had voted on this issue. Now it reads that the Lawrence Human Rights Commission voted on the issue. Big difference.

Riling's comment is moronic. As a lawyer, he should know that you don't legislate rights away from people based on what they MIGHT do with them. He has no good evidence to show that what he said might happen would actually happen, he's just trying to put his fear into others.

I propose we rename the LHRC to the Lawrence Some Human Rights Commission.

overthemoon 8 years, 6 months ago

Ridiculous. It seems that if ANYONE commits a crime, it is a crime no matter what their sexual preferences are. The point here is not to protect criminals, but to protect victims and give them equal footing in court.

The bathroom argument is typical of the nonsensical hysteria gripping our country today. We really need to work together, from and for all sides, to snuff the baseless fearmongering that is dividing us for no good reason and is creating a very hostile public screaming match.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 6 months ago

A little narrow in your interpretation, Dresden. In a democracy, the primary enemy is ignorance, which this commission exhibits in spades.

jimmyjms 8 years, 6 months ago

"Local attorney Tim Riling argued that a policy change could create a situation where a man, dressed as a woman, could enter a women’s restroom to assault a woman or child.

“If passed, the city would be facilitating people with criminal intent,” Riling said."

Uh, what? Get your head out of your ass, Riling.

LawrenceFAQ 8 years, 6 months ago

For those few of you who identify yourself in this or any LJW blog your comments are greatly welcomed and appreciated. Your views, whether for or against this issue, stand out amidst the otherwise basic slew of rants and name calling. This is a very important issue; one that caused a lot of heated discussion from both sides. In the end however it was probably those who attended the meetings and spoke up in person that decided the issue. So many people there were against the issue yet so many people here are for it. I wonder why that is?

Janet Lowther 8 years, 6 months ago

Due to the proportion of speakers, for vs. against, I get the impression that this meeting was intentionally under-publicized, making sure a select group of reactionaries knew about it, but the broader interested community kept in the dark.

Open meetings violation? Not technically, but something smells!

chicklet 8 years, 6 months ago

i honestly do not want to go into a women's restroom and have a d&^k next to me just because he feels like a woman.

postfactumproductions 8 years, 6 months ago

How many of my transgendered friends or friends that look a little more feminine were beaten, some almost to death, while I lived in Lawrence? Almost all of them.

there are too many people in this world for us to all look, act, and identify with each other.

Diversity is a beautiful thing.

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