Current Affairs

Push for rights reforms after Texas gay bar raid

Jessica Geen November 5, 2009
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A task force set up after a police raid on a Fort Worth, Texas, gay bar has recommended a drastic reform of gay and trans rights in the city.

The Rainbow Lounge was raided by police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) officers on June 28th, the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Customers said they had been harassed and undue force had been used, while some gay activists have claimed the raid was straightforward discrimination. One man was hospitalised with a severe head injury.

Three officers from the TABC were fired, while the results of a police investigation will be released this week. However, police are expected to announce that no officers will be fired as a result.

The task force set up after the controversial raid has now recommended a number of changes to ensure gays and lesbians in the city get equal treatment.

The measures include extending discrimination protections to gender expression, diversity training for all city employees and extending rights such as partner benefits, family leave and pensions to gay and lesbian city employees.

Attorney Jon Nelson, chairman of the task force, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the recommendations are “one of the most far-reaching actions this city has taken, in the shortest amount of time”.

The newspaper reports that a vote may be taken on including gender identity in anti-discrimination protections this week but the other measures will take time to research.

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