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Oregon Expands Non-Discrimination Protections To Include Gender Identity

<p>Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signs an executive order Oct. 25, 2019, to strengthen state protections for LGBTQ+ people.</p>

Meerah Powell

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signs an executive order Oct. 25, 2019, to strengthen state protections for LGBTQ+ people.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Friday signed an executive order to strengthen and update state protections for people in the LGBTQ community.

The new order makes updates to an order issued in 1987 that prohibited state agencies from discriminating against people based on sexual orientation. It also expands the language to include gender identity.

“This groundbreaking executive order granted equal treatment under the law to members of Oregon’s gay and lesbian communities in state action, state facilities and state hiring,” Brown said about the original order. “That need is still as relevant today and as urgent today as it was over 30 years ago.”

“But things have changed quite a bit since 1987,” she said.

The new order not only bars state agencies from discriminating against LGBTQ employees, but also ensures anti-discrimination in any provision of public services, grant awards or other state government-related interactions.  

It will require agencies to designate existing single-stall restrooms as “all user” and to include at least one all-user restroom in new buildings. It will also require signage on multi-stall restrooms, directing people to the nearest all user restroom.

When collecting demographic data, agencies will also be required to include a third option along with male and female, for nonbinary people. Likewise, as an alternative to the gender markers “M” and “F” agencies must also offer the marker “X.”

“We’re well on our way toward a more inclusive state to call home, and as such, our state government must strive to be even more inclusive and welcoming to all Oregonians,” Brown said.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

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Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.