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Government & Politics

Cleveland Is Planning to Give Transgender People Options for Restrooms

Jacob Nash

Legislation giving transgender people the legal right to use the restroom or locker room that fits their gender identity is expected to be passed by Cleveland City Council tonight.            

The measure, introduced in 2013, changes the city’s existing  non-discrimination law, which says private business owners with public accommodations can dictate which restroom or shower a person should use regardless of gender identity.

Jacob Nash is co-chair of the transgender equality organization “Cleveland is Ready.” He says for him the law means freedom from harassment "because I don’t have to worry about whether someone knows me in the place of an establishment and says: 'Hey, I know that guy’s transgender; he needs to use the women’s room because he was born female. Now it won’t matter, I can walk into a place and use the men’s room without worrying anything about that.”

The ordinance calls for discrimination complaints to be filed with the city’s fair housing court, which could issue a civil penalty. Defendants who disregrds that penalty could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and receive a fine and jail time.