Against discrimination in Anchorage


Flags at Pride, 2006

Anchorage Assemblymember Patrick Flynn posted on his blog this morning on Sunday that an ordinance to bar discrimination based upon sexual orientation or veteran’s status in the Municipality of Anchorage would be introduced at tonight’s Anchorage Assembly meeting.  Per Mr. Flynn’s blog:

This change, which is consistent with Anchorage’s long history of social justice, would prevent:

“discrimination in the sale or rental of real property, financing practices, employment practices, public accommodations, educational institutions, and practices of the municipality, based upon…sexual orientation or veteran’s status.”

This would simply add to the existing list of protected classes, including “race, religion, age, sex, color, national origin, marital status, or physical disability,” so I therefore consider it quite reasonable.

Furthermore, the definition of sexual orientation in the ordinance (see its full text on the Muni website), makes clear that the ban on discrimination extends to transgender/transsexual persons:

Sexual orientation means actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or gender expression or identity. As used in this definition, ‘gender expression or identity’ means having or being perceived as having a self-image, appearance, or behavior different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.

Be sure to visit Mr. Flynn’s blog to commend him for stepping forward on this, & answer the poll there too (in the right-hand column, scroll down to see it). And if you’re a resident of the Municipality of Anchorage, let your Assembly representative(s) know that you support this ordinance. Mr. Flynn indicates that a public hearing on the ordinance will take place on June 9, so please show up at the Assembly chambers at the Loussac Library, too. Consider also making a donation to Equality Works, which is working to end discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Anchorage.

The last time we went to battle on this was 1992–1993. I still curl up into a tiny ball inside when I think of that time — palpable hatred in the air, of which Wayne Anthony Ross’ referring to lesbians/gays as “degenerates” in a 1993 letter to the Anchorage Bar Association was merely one instance. It’s bound to get noisy this time, too. But have heart. We can win this. And will.

(On a lighter side: I also predict that a certain well-known Anchorage preacher will bring up paranoid fears about “basement rooms.”)

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