Several lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups are considering pulling their support for the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance after language concerning public restrooms was added Wednesday.
The new language says, "Nothing herein shall be construed as directing any policy or practice regarding the use of restrooms, shower rooms, or similar facilities which have been designated for use by persons of the opposite sex."
City attorney Michael Bernard said the language was added to clear up confusion that’s come with the city’s proposal to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of protected classes under its nondiscrimination ordinance.
Bernard said no matter what the city decides, nothing will change.
“If the ordinance passes it will be the same then as it is now and the language that is in there is to make that clear,” he said.
For example, under current city law a business owner has the right to deny a transgender woman, someone who was born male but now identifies as female, access to the women’s restroom.
Even if the ordinance passes, that business owner will not be in violation of the city’s policy.
Many LGBT groups, including Citizens Alliance for a United San Antonio, said they cannot support the ordinance as it stands.
Lauryn Ferris from the Transgender Education Network of Texas said her group will wait and see if the council addresses the new language.
“The whole purpose of the ordinance is supposed to be to create nondiscrimination,” she said. “This language actually creates discrimination.”