Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"The Most LGBT-Friendly City in the World

The city of brotherly love has taken a step toward equality—in fact, they aspire to be “the most LGBT-friendly city in the world.”  Though modern media would lead you to think that the only issue of importance to the LGBT community is marriage, this recent legislation addresses a different topic.  Mayor Nutter signed into law an equality bill that amends many social inequalities, but the most ground-breaking is the mandated gender-neutral bathrooms.

In addition to men’s and women’s restrooms, all new and renovated city-owned buildings will be required to provide gender-neutral restrooms.  Other aspects of the new law include granting tax incentives to companies that offer LGBT-friendly healthcare to employees, expanding the anti-discrimination law to include transgender people, granting power of attorney to same-gender partners, and amending government forms to allow inclusive demographic options for queer people.

Government officials are generally supportive of this law, as it passed easily through city council.  State representative Brian Sims, a Philadelphia Democrat and the first openly gay candidate to be elected to the Legislature, said, “This is a city that is truly respecting all its citizens. It is because of that respect that we are indeed a first-class city and we will continue to shine.”

State representative Brian Sims, being himself.  Which, coincidentally, is the same as being awesome.

Despite the fact that the city has taken the stance of “Equal protection under the law means equal protection under the law.  It doesn't mean sanctioned by religion or custom or anything else,” the fact remains that marriage and civil unions are both rights granted only to male-female couples in Pennsylvania.

Some folks are unsure of the benefit of gender-neutral bathrooms.  Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that restrooms are a site of high violence toward the queer community, specifically toward those who do not present gender in a “traditional” way.  In addition to potentially violent situations, there is always the presence of uncertainty and exclusion for anyone who does not identify as cisgendered (their gender identity is the same as their assigned sex).  A genderqueer person should not have to choose if they are a man or a woman for the purpose of using the restroom (or any other purpose), and a transgender person should not have to enter the restroom of the gender they don’t identify with because the law mandates it (in New Jersey, this is the case).

Armed with this understanding of the queer community, Philadelphia has amended many of their policies relating to the LGBT population, bringing them so much closer to equality.  One can only hope that these actions taken by the city of brotherly love will inspire the state as a while to follow suit and pass some inclusive legislation.

1 comment:

  1. That was very informative, very hopeful, and very AWESOME!! Thanks for the update :)