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UPDATE: City Council panel votes to add gender identity and gender expression to policy

(Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect Wednesday morning's vote.)

SAN DIEGO, California – A City Council panel on Wednesday morning voted to amend the City of San Diego’s policies and practices to add gender identity and gender expression as types of unlawful discrimination.

City Councilmember Todd Gloria asked the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee to consider amending the City of San Diego’s Nondiscrimination in Contracting Ordinance.

“We cannot and should not award contracts to any business that discriminates against anyone, including transgender people,” Gloria said today.

The amendment will be sent to the full City Council for approval.

Gloria said gender identity refers to both an individual’s sense of self regarding characteristics labeled as masculine, feminine, both, neither or in-between. Gender expression means a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.

The State of California Government Code includes gender identity and gender expression as protected classes for purposes of employment.

If the City of San Diego policy is amended, the types of unlawful discrimination would be listed as “race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, or disability” in four sections of the San Diego Municipal Code, Chapter 2, Article 2, Division 35.

Gloria said the city’s Human Relations Commission and the Police Department Citizens’ Review Board recommended the update.

The councilmember noted that in fall 2014, the Human Rights Campaign released its annual Municipality Equality Index, a point based system that examines a city’s laws and policies based on their inclusivity of the LGBT people who live there. San Diego scored exceptionally well, earning 100 out of 100 points. A few of those were considered bonus points, meaning there was still an area the city could improve. The city missed two points because its City Contractor Non-Discrimination Ordinance did not include gender identity.

“Even with an A+ for equality, I knew we could do better,” said Gloria, who worked with city staff on the development of the amendment.