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Cambridge Passes "Freedom of Gender" Legislation

Cambridge, MA The Cambridge city council this past Monday voted unanimously to incorporate into the city's Human Rights Ordinance protection for freedom of gender expression. The new law prohibits discrimination against any people on the basis of gender. To the amazement and delight of the measure's proponents, there was no opposition to the amendment at any time during the process of bringing it before the city council, to a public hearing, and then back to teh city council again for the final vote.

According to Nancy Nangeroni, author of the amendment, "This isn't about protecting some special interest group. This is about expanding the scope of everyone's personal freedom. It's no infringement on anyone else if I'm more masculine or more feminine. So there's no reason why I shouldn't have that freedom. Any woman who's been harassed because she looks too butch, and any guy who's ever been harassed because he looks too effeminate, is affected and protected by this."

The measure is the first legislation in the state of Massachusetts which protects freedom of gender experssion and identity. It will also be the first legislation penned which defines "same sex" as based on something other than physiology. As such, "it is a huge step towards rights and respect for transgender people everywhere" says Nancy.

Local activists plan a party, dubbed the "Human Rights Explosion", to be held April 13 in celebration of this landmark event for Cambridge and Massachusetts. The party will be held at Ryles in Inman Square, Cambridge, from 6 to 9 PM, followed by dancing until the wee hours.

Amendment Specifics:

The amendment adds "gender" to the list of protected classes, including sex, race, religion, etc. It also adds the following definition of gender:

"Gender" means the actual or perceived appearance, expression, or identity of a person with respect to masculinity and femininity.

Since the ordinance provides for the stablishment of same sex facilities such as dormitories, the amendment also adds the following definition of "same sex":

"Same sex" means occupying the same social and identity roles as another with respect to being male or female.

The amendment is accompanied by extensive notes which provide detailed explanation of the intent and guidelines for it's interpretation and implementation.

The amended text of the Cambridge Human Rights Ordinance is now available online, thanks to It's Time Massachusetts, here.

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News report courtesy GenderTalk