Trans Worker Protections Pass in Dallas County

Dallas County commissioners on Tuesday passed explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender workers, adding “transgender, gender identity and gender expression” language to longstanding protected classes “religion, color, race, sex, age, national origin, disability and political affiliation.”

The change passed by a 3-2 vote down party lines with Democrats in favor.

A decision on March 22 added sexual orientation to existing legislation, but trans people have been lobbying since that decision to also have gender identity/expression covered.

From Dallas News:

The 3-2 vote was split along party lines. The court’s two Republicans, Maurine Dickey and Mike Cantrell, voted against the proposal.

Voting in favor were the three Democrats: County Judge Clay Jenkins and Commissioners John Wiley Price and Elba Garcia.


Price, who has been noncommittal about the matter for weeks, said he placed the item on Tuesday’s agenda for a vote after having a change of heart.

“At the end of the day, it’s about doing the right thing,” Price said prior to the vote.

Garcia called the decision a “historic moment” for the county. She also said she took part in the vote to add such protections to city of Dallas employees almost a decade ago.

“For me, it’s about equality and justice for everybody,” Garcia said. “We’re just catching up.”

Tuesday’s success has been put down to the fact that the Commissioners Court has, for the first time since the 1980s, a Democratic majority.

Republican Maurine Dickey said she voted against the bill because she believes transgender people are covered under former language. Mike Cantrell, who also voted against, said his no vote was to save taxpayers from potential legal liability.

A federal trans-inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act currently sits in Congress. It is not expected to gain traction this year given the hostile GOP majority in the House, however the legislation’s key sponsors including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) have said they will use this opportunity to build support among Republican colleagues.

Advocates have pressed President Obama to issue an executive order for LGBT workplace protections which would be a non-permanent and limited short-term measure until ENDA can be moved in Congress. You can read more on the possibility of an executive order here.

For more on ENDA, please click here.

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Marlith.

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Arielle Black-Foley

This is awesome!

Brenda Gilbert
Brenda Gilbert4 years ago

Excellent news! Thank you, Steve for posting.
It seems rather odd to me that someone would vote against a measure to outlaw discrimination on the grounds that it could protect taxpayers against possible liability. By this token there should be NO anti-discrimination laws at all and everyone should be free to discriminate as they choose, free from all danger of legal comeback. I don't think this makes much sense, do you??????

Tracey D.
Tracey D.4 years ago

A step in the right direction. I wish more counties would follow suit.

Margo A.
Margo A.4 years ago

Since Trans-folk have to work, this is surely a wonderful thing. Of course, No one should be discriminated against for anything. Dallas seems to be moving with the times. Lots of other cities and counties could learn from them :-)

donald baumgartner


Alice B.
Alice B.4 years ago

Whew - thank goodness this passed. I'm posting your article on my Facebook Steve - thank you so much for this news.

Robert H.
Robert H.4 years ago

The two republicans that voted against this are part of that sub-human race that needs to be eradicated from our planet.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley4 years ago

Good news.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal4 years ago

Thank you Dallas for moving this 'good ole boy' state in the right direction.

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

One small step can lead to another and Texas has a long, long way to go. So do many other states unfortunately. Thanks.