Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 34, Ed. 1 Friday, January 6, 2012 Page: 12 of 40
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From Page 6
trustees to support the addition. "The LGBT com-
munity did a good job of informing the board.
Congratulations to the community."
Only five speakers addressed the board on
Tuesday although another five had signed up to
Dallas County Community College graduate
Brad Shankle offered a unique perspective in his
remarks. "I struggled with gender dysphoria, al-
though I found a way to deal with it," he said,
adding that having the policy in place while he
was a s tudent would have made campus life eas-
ier for him.
McDonnell gave the board facts and statistics:
In a little more than a year, Dallas Independent
School District, DFW Airport, Dallas County and
Dallas Area Rapid Transit have all added nondis-
crimination protections based on gender identity
and expression. Around the country, 410 colleges
and universities have protections based on gender
identity and exprpsion. And more than half of
Fortune 500 companies have these protections in
place, McDonnell said, specifically mentioning
Earlier in the meeting, Wesley Jameson—who
works for AT&T — was sworn in as the newest
When McDonnell asked everyone in the audi-
ence who had attended to support the changes to
stand, about 20 people responded.
RCD board member and DCCCD student
Maeve O'Connor told the board her Story. And
GetEQUAL North Texas Regional Coordinator
Daniel Cates, a student at El Centro College, told
the board, "No matter who you are, you deserve
a safe place to work and go to school." He said
that a "yes" vote would protect everyone and set
an example for other colleges in the state.
Lambda Legal Community Educator Omar
Narvaez told trustees that a transgender person
is twice as likely to be unemployed as the general
population and one in four has been fired simply
because of gender identity.
Board Chair Jerry Prater then cut off public
comments, telling those attending, "We have got-
ten your message, loud and clear."
Five trustees were present to vote. Four voted
in favor and only Trustee Bill Metzger voted no.
While the board was receptive to the message
delivered at the January meeting, passing the pol-
icy took more than half a year from the time it was
first proposed. And at one point during the fall, it
looked like the protections would not even be
When the board was briefed on the policy in
October, some members said they thought
amending the nondiscrimination statement was
it was covered by sex-
ual orientation, and
because the city of
Dallas prohibits dis-
only two of the sys-
tem's colleges are lo-
cated within the city
of Dallas, the school's
attorney argued that
the entire system was Maeve O'Connor
covered by the ordi-
nance because the district's headquarters is lo-
cated in Dallas.
Confusion about the definition of sexual orien-
tation stemmed from the wording in the 2002 Dal-
las ordinance. The city regulation only lists sexual
orientation but the definition of the term within
the ordinance includes gender identity.
But the city ordinance specifically exempts
other governmental bodies. DCCCD is its own
taxing authority and is, therefore, exempt from
DCCCD is also not covered by Dallas County
The county Commissioners Court amended its
employment policy to include gender identity
and expression in 2011. But DCCCD employees
work for the community college district, not the
county. And that employment policy would not
When the policy was proposed last spring, San
Jacinto College, based in Pasadena east of Hous-
ton, was the only community college in Texas
with gender identity protections.
In December Houston Community College
added trans protections to its nondiscrimination
With more than 81,000 credit students and
25,000 continuing education students enrolled in
the fall 2011 semester, DCCCD is the largest com-
munity college district and the largest school in
Texas. The district includes seven cdlleges on 13
campuses and employs 7,200 full- and part-time
faculty, staff and administrators.
Statewide, there are 55 community colleges or
community college districts. Just six of those dis-
tricts have nondiscrimination policies that include
In addition to the three with trans protections,
those that only list sexual orientation are Tarrant
County College with five campuses, Austin Com-
munity College with eight campuses in Travis
County and Lone Star College System based in
The Woodlands north of Houston with 14 cam-
puses in Harris and Montgomery counties,
With parage of protection by DCCCD, more
than 31,000 public sector employees in Dallas
County are covered by the expanded policies. ■
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Nash, Tammye. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 34, Ed. 1 Friday, January 6, 2012, newspaper, January 6, 2012; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239201/m1/12/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.