ST. GEORGE — Representatives from Equality Utah and local supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community gathered at Grace Episcopal Church in St. George Tuesday night to share stories and show support for a possible nondiscrimination ordinance they hope the City of St. George will adopt soon. The ordinance would help protect LGBT community members from discrimination in the workplace and in housing situations.
The night began with Equality Utah Field Organizer Preston Hilburn and volunteer coordinator Tara Owen addressing a crowd of approximately 30 people on the importance of connecting with others and how simply sharing a story can change someone’s perspective.
Report continues below
Videocast by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News
Equality Utah is based out of Salt Lake City and is the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization. Its representatives travel the state in support of the LGBT community, presenting meetings to the public where they find needs arising, as they have recently in St. George.
On Nov. 6, the St. George City Council heard from local resident Matthew Jacobson about how discrimination has affected his life and the lives of many others, and Jacobson requested that the city take action.
“It takes a community member to want to go meet with City Council,” Hilburn said. “We hope people use the tools from this training.”
A study conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force revealed that among the Western states, an average of three to five people per month are allegedly fired from their jobs for being gay or transgender. Additionally, the study found, 49 percent of LGBT Utahns experienced homophobia or harassment in the workplace last year.
If St. George did adopt a nondiscrimination ordinance, it would be the second city in Washington County to do so and the 17th city in the state of Utah. Springdale adopted a nondiscrimination ordinance in 2012. Other cities that have nondiscrimination ordinances include Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake, Park City, Taylorsville, West Valley City, Marriott-Slaterville, Murray, Midvale, Moab, Ogden, Alta, Logan, Harrisville, Perry City and Washington Terrace.
Countywide nondiscrimination ordinances also exist in Salt Lake, Summit and Grand counties.
- For an updated list of states with laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, visit Movement Advancement Project.
- Equality Utah website
- City hears request for possible nondiscrimination ordinance
- On the EDge: Still a long road ahead for LGBT equality
- City Council approves business incentives for returning Viracon
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