Baltimore County councilman Tom Quirk plans to introduce a measure to prohibit discrimination against transgender people. The bill, set to be introduced at a council meeting on January 17, would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the county's anti-discrimination laws.
The measure comes in the wake of a videotaped attack on transgender woman Chrissy Lee Polis, whose brutal assault at a McDonald's in Rosedale last April drew national attention. But Quirk explained his reasons for pushing the measure are bigger than the attack.
"To me, the bottom line is the majority of people want to make sure that people are hired and fired based on their job qualifications, period," Quirk said. "It's about respect."
Quirk said the he wants to focus on the issue of discrimination in the workplace, adding that he is still working out details of how the legislation would address discrimination in housing and public places.
The planned legislation was first reported by Patch.com.
Maryland state law bars discrimination based on sexual orientation, but efforts to add gender identity have failed. Howard County passed transgender protection bill last month, joining Baltimore City and Montgomery County, which have similar laws in place.
"It's about treating people with respect and on an equal playing field," he said.
Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond said she plans to co-sponsor the legislation. "I feel it's the right thing to do," said Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat. "I just think that freedom's for everyone."
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