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Pittsburgh adds more inclusive language to anti-discrimination ordinance

Written by Ariel Worthy/WESA | Jul 10, 2019 4:43 AM
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The city-county building in downtown Pittsburgh. (Katie Blackley/WESA)

(Pittsburgh) -- Pittsburgh City Council unanimously approved adding more inclusive language for the LGBTQ community in its anti-discrimination ordinance. The rule now defines the terms "gender identity" and "gender expression," which weren't previously defined. 

Gender identity is defined as "a person's actual or perceived identity as it relates to the gender spectra." Gender expression is defined as "a person's actual or perceived expression of gender identity through appearance, dress, behavior, mannerisms, or other traits." 

The changes also defined sex and sexual orientation more inclusively. 

Councilors Bruce Kruas and Erika Strassburger sponsored the amendment. Strassburger said the changes came in June during Pride Month, after the Commission on Human Relations brought the outdated language to their attention. 

"This came up because of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, June was Pride Month and ... [the commission] thought that this was a place to tighten up the code," she said.  

Strassburger added that new changes also use gender neutral terms, changing words like "his" or "her" to "they" or "individual."

Strassburger said the new terminology will still be relevant in a few years. 

"Right now we talk about the LGBT, or the LGBTQ community, or the LGBTQIA+ community," she said. "We didn't want to be so specific that we're using language that would be outdated very quickly." 

Strassburger said part of the language change is to ensure that people who felt they were discriminated against would have a strong case to take to the Commission on Human Relations. 

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