Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

More myths about the Metro Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Newschannel5 explores the Metro non-discrimination ordinance. Council Member Megan Barry does a great job of explaining the basis of the ordinance in terms of actual complaints of discrimination and the need to attract a talented workforce like private sector employers.

Those opposed repeat the same old arguments without any basis. Let's go point by point.

1. Special rights? Wrong. The same rights. What's the argument? Sexual orientation and gender identity are general categories that apply to all people. We all have a sexual orientation; it's not just for gay people. The ordinance would also protect straight people targeted for discrimination by a gay supervisor because they are straight. Gender identity is also a general category that is applicable to all people. Some people live their lives as men and some live their lives as women. Pretty basic. Men and women come across as more or less masculine and feminine on a full scale. Should it matter how masculine or how feminine people think you are if you can do your job? These are non-merit factors and shouldn't be the basis for firing or not hiring someone.

2. Sexual orientation is a choice? No, it's really not. Human beings don't really choose whether to be attracted to and fall in love with the same sex, the opposite sex, or both. It's not like going into a diner and saying, "I think I'll have the spaghetti today." Check the American Psychological Association if you don't believe an activist.

3. Won't there be lawsuits? It's not likely. Do we really think private employers choose to adopt employment policies that invite lawsuits and endanger the bottom line? The goal of non-discrimination policies is to prevent discrimination so people can focus on their jobs. Furthermore, the Tennessee Board of Regents has adopted the same non-discrimination policy that Metro is proposing and there have been no lawsuits based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Stay tuned. I'm sure we'll have to break it down a few more times as the ordinance moves along.

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