On October 27, a bill was pre-filed to make gender identity and expression a protected classification under county law, reports The Howard County Times. The bill, which will be officially introduced on November 7, provides transgender individuals protection under the law to be given equal treatment in housing and employment and the option to take legal recourse if discrimination occurs.
“It’s important for us to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all of our residents,” council Chairman Calvin Ball, a Columbia Democrat, said. “In a world where there are people who because of their gender identity are being discriminated against, we need to take action.”
Council member Courtney Watson, an Ellicott City Democrat, said members of the local chapter of the national advocacy group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays approached council members with the idea for the legislation.
“We felt that they made a convincing case that this population needed protection from discrimination,” she said.
Currently only two jurisdictions in Maryland (Montgomery County and Baltimore) list gender identity as protected classification. A public hearing is scheduled for November 21.