Cleveland mayor signs transgender rights bill

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Friday signed a bill that expands his city’s nondiscrimination law.

Jackson signed Ordinance 1466-13, which amends Cleveland’s anti-LGBT discrimination law to prohibit businesses from banning their employees and customers to use restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity, during a ceremony at Cleveland City Hall. Equality Ohio Executive Director Alana Jochum and Jacob Nash, a trans man who co-chaired the campaign in support of the proposal, were among those who joined the mayor on stage.

“Cleveland is a place where we want to be welcoming to everyone and that everyone is the same and everyone is someone that has equity,” said Jackson before he signed Ordinance 1466-13.

Nash said Ordinance 1466-13 makes Cleveland “a more welcoming city for every individual.”

“It doesn’t matter of you are gay or straight, cisgender or transgender, racial or white,” he said. “Cleveland has come together today to say we are ready for all people, we welcome all people and we would love for you to visit our city because our city is one of the greatest cities in the country.”

The signing ceremony caps off an effort to expand Cleveland’s nondiscrimination law that began three years ago.

The Cleveland City Council earlier this month unanimously approved Ordinance 1466-13. Jackson signed it less than a day after Donald Trump formally accepted his party’s presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention that took place in the city’s Quicken Loans Arena.

“It is a good day,” City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland told the Washington Blade after the signing ceremony.

Nash noted Ordinance 1466-13 passed against the continued outrage over a North Carolina law that prohibits trans people from using public restrooms consistent with their gender identity and bans local municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. A Virginia school district last week petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent a trans high school student from using the boys restroom until it decides whether to hear his lawsuit.

“We are seeing so much visceral responses to transgender people in restrooms,” Nash told the Blade after the signing ceremony. “We have Cleveland that’s saying no, we want transgender individuals to be able to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.”