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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


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Transgender Day Highlights Need for Equal Protection in Ohio

Fourteen Ohio cities have comprehensive non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (Pixabay)
Fourteen Ohio cities have comprehensive non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (Pixabay)
March 31, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Today is International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day to encourage those in the transgender community who haven't made themselves public to step forward.

And some say there is a great need to ensure that transgender Ohioans, along with those who are lesbian, gay or bisexual are treated equally.

Alana Jochum, managing director for Equality Ohio, says there are no statewide non-discrimination protections in Ohio for LGBT individuals in some very important areas of life including housing, employment, and public accommodations.

"They can be fired for marrying their partner," she says. "They could be denied housing once a landlord realizes that they are a lesbian couple, or they could be denied services at a movie theater, at a restaurant or hotel just because it's who they are or how they identify."

In Ohio, 14 cities have comprehensive non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but Jochum contends statewide policies also are needed.

North Carolina has been the target of national scrutiny after the governor signed a law last week striking down all existing LGBT nondiscrimination rules and restricting transgender people's use of public restrooms.

A 2013 survey of small-business owners in Ohio showed 70 percent support passing state laws to protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination.

Jochum says equal protection is important for workers, business and the state's economy.

"Ohio claims that it's open for business but we need Ohio to be open for talent," says Jochum. "And when it doesn't have non-discrimination protections for the LGBT community its not truly open for talent. We ask that they be put in place at the statewide level."

The Ohio Fairness Act, HB 389, introduced last fall, would add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as protected classes under Ohio's anti-discrimination laws.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH