Mayor G.T. Bynum on Monday signed an executive order extending the city of Tulsa’s nondiscrimination policy to protect more of the LGBTQ community.
The order adds the words “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the city’s existing policy, which already protected city employees based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.
Oklahomans for Equality issued a statement praising Bynum and the City Council for their support for LGBTQ Tulsans.
“We will continue the work to ensure protections for LGBTQ+ Tulsans and our community across the state,” Oklahomans for Equality wrote.
Bynum said his decision to sign the executive order is in keeping with his push to make Tulsa a world-class, competitive city and is consistent with the policies of peer cities such as Denver; Omaha, Nebraska; and Nashville, Tennessee.
The executive order applies only to city of Tulsa employees. It does not provide any rights to employees that are not already allowed to others by law.
“We’ve taken a number of significant steps in this direction with stronger employee engagement, more competitive salaries and a benefits package that reflects the needs identified by our employees,” Bynum said. “Signing this executive order today was a critical next step as an organization in our efforts to create a work environment based upon trust and respect, and one that enables us to attract and retain the most talented employees possible.”
Dr. Laura Arrowsmith, a member of the board of directors at Oklahomans for Equality, said in a statement that President Donald Trump’s administration is attempting to make it acceptable to fire people for being transgender.
“It is fantastic and encouraging that Mayor Bynum is insightful and brave enough to do the right thing by issuing this proclamation,” she said.
Alex Wade, medical services coordinator for Oklahomans for Equality, called Bynum’s decision to stand by the transgender community “a brave step forward for equality.”
The executive order describes “gender identity” as an “employee’s self-identification as male, female, a blend of both or neither, and may or may not match the sex assigned at birth.”
A person’s “gender expression” is defined as an “employee’s external manifestation of gender identity.”
According to the city of Tulsa, 83% of Fortune 500 companies include gender identity and expression in their nondiscrimination policies.
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