City may add gender identity, expression to types of banned discrimination

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SAN DIEGO — The City Council’s Budget Committee gave a tentative green light Wednesday to a proposal to add the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the types of discrimination banned by San Diego’s Nondiscrimination in Contracting Ordinance.

The ordinance already keeps the city from doing business with companies that discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability.

The proposed amendment would add gender identity — defined by city staff as a person’s sense of self, whether masculine, feminine, both, neither or somewhere in between, and gender expression — a person’s appearance or behavior no matter their sex at birth.

The change would bring the city into compliance with state law.

“Including the terms ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ is an important step in the right direction, not only for the LGBT community, but I think for every San Diegan who would hope their government would treat everyone equally,” committee Chairman Todd Gloria said.

“We cannot, and we should not, award contracts to businesses that discriminate against a person’s identity or how they choose to define themselves,” Gloria said. “How we express ourselves, or whether or not we conform with society’s ideas of what gender norms are, is a basic human right.”

The committee voted unanimously to forward the proposal to the full City Council for final approval.

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