Dallas City Council committee pushes for resolution in support of transgender community

A Dallas City Council committee wants the city attorney to draft a new resolution that will prohibit the city from discriminating against transgender and non-binary people. 

The resolution will also condemn any state, federal, or local policies that discriminate against transgender people.

The Quality of Life Committee unanimously voted for the resolution to be drafted and voted on by the full council within 30 days. 

"The city took a step today to tell the state legislator that keeps trying to pass laws to discriminate," Councilman Chad West said Tuesday. "We took a step today to tell them enough is enough. We need to treat everyone equally."

Councilmembers are responding to Gov. Greg Abbott's order for CPS to investigate many gender-affirming treatments as "child abuse."

That happened following Attorney General Ken Paxton's non-binding legal opinion with the same view. 

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Although city council positions are not party-specific, some of Tuesday's criticisms were politically pointed.

"Our community is vibrant. It is welcoming," said Councilman Omar Narvaez. "We need to make sure the folks that are the least of that are being attacked by people like our governor and multiple-indicted attorney general, that those families know we have their back in Dallas." 

As of now, the CPS investigations are on hold under a court injunction.

Paxton is appealing to the Texas Supreme Court, saying the order "prevents the state from fulfilling its duty to protect Texas children." 

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No transgender people attended Tuesday's news conference in the city hall flag room.

The Resource Center CEO Cece Cox offered a reason why.

"It is not safe for many of our transgender brothers and sisters to be out," she said. "And I can't speak for them, but I want to raise up the fact that many are living in the shadows. And they have become deeper and darker with attacks our legislature is making on the transgender community."

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While the city already has an anti-discrimination resolution which was passed in 2014, Quality of Life Chairman Adam Bazaldua is leading the effort to update the language to specifically protect people who identify as transgender or non-binary.

"Our trans community is not the same as sexual orientation. It is important for that to be specified," he said. "Our 2014 resolution does say sexual orientation, but we have not made sure our ordinances or codes provides for explicit security or support for our employees to use their desired pronouns."

Council members did not reference any alleged discrimination within the city of Dallas prompting the update, but there is a case under investigation with an entity the city has a management contract with. 

The full city council is expected to vote on the new resolution next month.