Cedar Rapids Gazette, 10/11/1995, Page 1
Iowa City approves state’s 1st transgender protection
By Brad Hahn
IOWA CITY — Iowa City will be the first city in the state and one of few in the nation to protect transgender individuals in its Human Rights Ordinance.
Council members voted unanimously last night to add the category of “gender identity” to the ordinance to cover all people who regard themselves as outside traditional gender identities.
Cross-dressers, transsexuals and transvestites are some of the lifestyles covered under the umbrella term.
Human Rights Coordinator Heather Shank estimated Iowa City is one of only five or six cities in the country to have an ordinance specifically protecting transgender individuals.
“This shows our commission is concerned about invidious discrimination against groups of people,” said Shank about the Human Rights Commission, which drafted the proposal for the council.
Before voting on the ordinance, council member Ernie Lehman expressed concern that the ordinance was becoming too specific.
“I’m going to support this because I guess I find it very difficult to not vote for an ordinance that protects people’s rights,” said Lehman.
“At some point we could have an ordinance that goes on forever.”
Second and third consideration on the proposal will be given at the next two council meetings. Changes are expected to go into effect Nov. 15.
While adding transgender protection is still a novelty nationwide, council member Karen Kubby said she hopes more communities will follow suit.
Considering that most communities have ordinances that fall far short of Iowa City’s, it’s unlikely transgender protection will become a trend, said Shank.
Last night’s vote was the conclusion of ongoing attempts by the commission to include wording that protects all classifications of transgenderism. An earlier recommendation was sent back to committee two weeks ago because of complaints it was too specific and misplaced under the category of “sexual orientation.”
Final wording defined “gender identity” as “a person’s various individual attributes, actual or perceived, in behavior, practice or appearance as they are understood to be masculine or feminine.”