Groups rally to add gender identity to non-discrimination ordinance

Groups rally to add gender identity to non-discrimination ordinance

(WMC-TV) – City of Memphis employees gathered Friday to speak out for inclusive workplace protections.

In September, the Memphis City Council voted to amend their employment non-discrimination ordination by including sexual orientation. But some Memphis city employees say that is still not fully inclusive.

Members of the Tennessee Equality Project and Memphis city employees stood together to announce their fight for a fully inclusive non-discrimination ordinance.

"If Dr. King were alive he would be here. None of us should be discriminated against when we are children of God," said Tennessee Representative Johnnie Turner.

Advocates came forward to ask the council to include gender identity and gender expression to the current ordinance.

A minister and city employee, Davin Clemons, addressed members of the clergy.

"I'm here now to let all the preachers know who are speaking against this to let my people go," said Clemons. "In no way does passing this anti-discrimination ordinance infringe upon our religious freedoms."

Ellyahnna Hall shared her stories of discrimination while living as a transgendered woman.

"That's what discrimination is doing. It is saying, 'You can't get hired here. It doesn't matter if you're qualified,'" said Hall.

Many people spoke out saying gender discrimination in the work place violates civil liberties.

Councilman Lee Harris urged his fellow council members to support the ordinance unanimously.

"There are a lot of folks far and wide that want to stamp out discrimination and I'm hoping that when the city council reconvenes that we'll do it," said Harris.

On Saturday, October 6, close to 10,000 people are expected to march on Beale Street for the 2012 Mid-South Gay Pride Parade.

The next chance for the Memphis City Council to amend the employment ordinance is October 16.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.